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November 19, 2001
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Mary Matthiessen, American Red Cross, 441-7997

Mayor Presents Award of Excellence for October

Mayor Don Wesely today presented the Mayor’s Award of Excellence for October to Lincoln Police I nvestigator Luke Wilke. The monthly award recognizes city employees who consistently provide exemplary service and work that demonstrates personal commitment to the city. The award was presented at the beginning of today’s City Council meeting.

Wilke was nominated in the category of loss prevention by Captain Gary Engel for his efforts to clear a bank robbery at the Wells Fargo branch at 4600 North 27th Street. Wilke is a member of LPD’s board certified team of crime scene technicians and also teaches fingerprinting. His crime scene investigation resulted in 36 latent finger and palm prints. Because of rewards offered through Crime Stoppers and the Nebraska Bankers Association, bank robberies generate a lot of information from the community, but Engel said that information by itself does not clear cases.

"The successful investigator is able to sort through the bad information and build on the useful information until he or she can make an arrest," wrote Engel in his nomination. "Luke methodically pursued every investigative lead and suspect developed during his follow-up. He pursued one suspect to Crete and then on to Salina, Kansas before eliminating him as a suspect."

A later Crime Stopper tip on a local man matched the general description of the robbery suspect. Wilke found and interviewed the suspect, and he and his supervisor went to a bar frequented by the suspect, where two people identified the suspect as the person in the bank surveillance photos. Wilke also found two people who said the suspect had confided to them that he had committed the robbery. LPD’s Identification Bureau positively identified a latent palm print Wilke recovered from the scene as that of the suspect, and the robbery was cleared.

The other categories in which employees can be nominated are productivity, customer relations, safety and valor. All city employees are eligible for the Mayor’s Award of Excellence except for elected officials and some managers. Individuals or teams can be nominated by supervisors, peers, subordinates and the general public.

Nomination forms are available from department heads, employee bulletin boards or the Personnel Department, which oversees the awards program. All nominations are reviewed by the Mayor’s Award of Excellence Committee, which includes a representative with each union and a non-union representative appointed by the Mayor. Award winners receive a $100 U.S. savings bond, a day off with pay and a plaque. Monthly winners are eligible to receive the annual award, which comes with a $500 U.S. savings bond, two days off with pay and a plaque.

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