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Lincoln Police Department

Lincoln, Nebraska

Lincoln Police Southeast Team

 
   
 
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The Southeast Team enjoys a long-standing tradition of leading the department in the number of Problem Oriented Policing Projects completed each year. These projects are specifically designed to impact long term, repetitive problems by using non-traditional policing methods and involving our community in the final solution. These are just some of the examples of outstanding efforts put forth each day by the police officers who serve southeast Lincoln. The members of the Southeast Team remain committed to providing quality police services by putting their community first.
Safety Day Each May, officers promote bicycle safety and security tips for children during the annual “Safety Day” at the Lincoln Children's Zoo. The Lincoln Police Union donates money for bike locks to be purchased from the Bike Rack at a reduced price. The locks are then raffled off to children during the event. Officer Abele, in the Crime Prevention Unit, works as a liason with Three Eagles Communication to promote LPD's role in Safety Day. In addition to educating kids about bike safety and preventing bike thefts, this event provides the officers an opportunity to talk to kids about a wide range of summer safety tips.
Last year nearly one third of Lincoln's total traffic accidents occurred within the boundaries of the Southeast Team. With that in mind, Southeast Team officers make accident reduction a priority when setting goals for the year. During the summer of 2006, Officer Shane Winterbauer initiated a project called "Speed Kills" to raise public awareness about a high accident location near 27th & Old Cheney. The project included public awareness through a media release showing a wrecked vehicle and banner placed near the intersection, using the mobile speed display unit to educate drivers about their vehicle speeds and speed limit enforcement. Southeast Team second shift officers took part in this three week project running radar enforcement in an attempt to slow down drivers in the area. Officer Winterbauer continued the project in 2008 by placing a totaled truck on Normal Blvd at Sumner Street. A sign stood next to the vehicle announcing, "Arrive Alive". A jounalist with the Lincoln Journal Star embraced the project and printed a front page story. She highlighted the objectives of the project which resulted in positive praise from the public.

Through his contacts within the schools, School Resource Officer Steve Standley identified the need to train teachers and staff on how to deal with a critical incident at their facility. Knowing that the way in which the first few minutes of an incident are handled can make the difference between an organized response and chaos, Officer Standley focused his training on thought and preparation surrounding the minutes prior to the arrival of first responders. What resulted is a program of instruction called "Critical Incident Training, The First Few Minutes", which aims at teaching school staff the basics of critical incident response. The content focuses on defining a critical incident, identifying several levels or types of emergencies, principles of response and how an individuals role in the response will be determined by their relationship to the unfolding event. The reviews for this training have been unanimously outstanding and Officer Standley has been recognized for his efforts in this area by receiving the Mayor's Award of Excellence.
Each Friday evening during the summer the Sonic Drive Inn Restaurant, located at 5601 South 48th Street, sponsors a classic car show. This is an extremely popular event and draws a significant amount of vehicular and pedestrian traffic into the area. As a result, every Friday night there were complaints of parking violations and traffic congestion, vehicles spinning their tires, speeding and reckless behavior. Sergeant Geoff Marti identified this as a team problem and asked second shift officers, Pat Knopik and Troy Manning, to coordinate a project to deal with the various issues. The officers started the effort by spending 1-2 hours per Friday night on foot patrol in the area talking to attendees, and handing out a flyer which educated people about some of the concerns. Contact was made with Sonic management and the various car club presidents apprising them of the concerns and unsafe behaviors. The results were outstanding! The response from car show participants was very pro law enforcement, with expressions of appreciation for what the officers were trying to accomplish. Compliance with traffic and parking laws immediately returned to a normal and safe level and the officers working this detail developed many positive relationships.
Lincoln has 76 miles of hiker/biker trails and each year, as warmer weather approaches, the use of the trails increases. Unfortunately, so does the number of incidents that require police intervention or the need for medical assistance. There is also a need to provide a feeling of safety and security along the trails. Each summer the Southeast Team conducts a project to patrol the trails, however staffing limits the amount of time devoted to the trails. Secluded sections of the trails, and distances to phones or facilities can exacerbate simple mechanical breakdowns, medical needs or incidents that need police. Officer Charles Marti, in an effort to improve safety along the trail system, coordinates a project to bring together several groups with this shared interest. Members of the U.S. Army Reserve unit based in Lincoln spend weekend drills and the Lincoln Amateur Radio Club will spend evenings during the summer promoting safety along the trails network. The participants receive training on what types of activity to watch for and the preferred actions to take in response to incidents they may encounter. They have cellular phones provided by Alltell Communications and are equipped with basic first aid materials. They report possible trail hazards, provide directions, provide bike repair, water and first aid, and offer assistance to their fellow citizens. This extra set of eyes and ears helps make the trails system a safer place for the citizens of Lincoln.
Larceny from vehicle has been the number one crime in the City of Lincoln for several years and the Southeast Team is no exception to that trend. Educating potential victims to lock their vehicle and remove valuables from plain view has proven to have an impact on these offenses. Officer Bonnie Nichols recognized the need for continuing crime prevention education so that people would consistently be reminded to follow good crime prevention habits. Officer Nichols developed a flyer and letter that are regularly mailed to apartment complex managers asking them to post the flyers in public places, i.e., mailboxes and laundry rooms. Her creative crime fighting efforts on this project were recognized in a national publication concerning Geographic Information Systems and Public Policy.
Nearly half of all residential burglaries on the Southeast Team could be prevented if residents could be persuaded to close their garage doors. Officer Matt Tangen coordinated a project with late shift officers to patrol high burglary rate areas identified by crime trend mapping for open garage doors. When an open door was located officers placed an informational flyer inside the garage, informing the resident that they were at risk of being the victim of a crime. This project received positive citizen feedback and was highlighted at the International Crime Mapping Conference in Orlando, Florida.