Monday, April 30, 2007

One fine day

It was a fine weekend. Good weather, though, usually increases the police department's workload. Reading this morning's paper, I saw a small "police blotter" article describing three police incidents yesterday: some burglaries, and a sex crime.

Those three incidents, however, were three from among the 434 that Lincoln police officers responded to yesterday, Sunday, normally the slowest day of the week. You can check out our daily workload easily on our website. Those 434 incidents included:

16 Traffic accidents
17 Assaults
107 Disturbances
6 Drunk drivers
32 Larcenies
11 Missing persons
5 Narcotics cases
15 Prowlers

It's a very busy city--even on Sunday we are running all over the place handling all manner of crises and mayhem. You don't see the full picture in the news, because the volume is just so overwhelming. So, here's four more stories from the 434 incidents we handled yesterday:

We responded to a gang fight shortly after midnight at 32nd and Vine in which a self-avowed 14 year old gang member was chased by a group of people from a rival gang wielding baseball bats. He ran into Vine Street and flagged down a passing motorist who called 911. The victim had no real explanation for what he was doing out on the street shortly after midnight. He's accumulating quite a few police reports already for a 14 year old. We have recent information from two sources that he's trying to get his hands on a pistol. His parents clearly have no control. He's on probation from Juvenile Court right now, and is supposed to be on "house arrest." Guess that's not working.

We handled a bunch of wild parties (17) in response to complaints. The one near 48th and Sherman was a mess. Apparently some guests showed up who nobody knew (big surprise) and began stealing stuff from the home. One of the other party-goers confronted one of the thieves, and the fight was on. Two assaults and one ambulance later, we were investigating a robbery with $140 worth of DVDs missing, along with the gang of unknown suspects. These party-related thefts are getting pretty common--its the risk of having a huge house party where the host doesn't have any idea who all the guests are.

The missing persons are mostly chronic runaways. That doesn't reduce the need to find them, the work involved for the police, nor reduce the risk to the child. A sixteen year-old high school student led the group. We have a detailed description of her body piercings and tattoos from the 10 prior reports. She's obviously had a tough life, given the nature of her other past police contacts. Kids like this are at great risk for victimization, because despite their hardcore exterior, they are incredibly vulnerable and the world is full of predators willing to take them in and provide food, alcohol, and drugs in exchange for other services.

Drunk driving sent six Lincoln citizens to the detox center or jail, but the on-duty uniformed security guard at Nebraska Wesleyan University who crashed at 50th and St. Paul and tested five times the legal limit (yes, you read that right) has to take the cake.


Anonymous said...

I think that the parents of the 14 yo should be held responsible for the child.

Anonymous said...

How many of those 'We' calls did you actually handle Chief?

Anonymous said...

Chief, why are certain responses being erased from the blogs?? Are we not still in a free country that allows freedom of speech, even if it does not agree with you?

Anonymous said...

wouldn't it be nice if outlaws set aside at least one day of the week as a day of rest? i know, i'm asking for the moon.

being under the influence while in someone's employ isn't as unusual as some of you may think. i'm sure the security guard imagined that no one would suspect him of being drunk while on duty.

Steven Holman said...

Perhaps you could expand on the statement regarding the 14 year old's house arrest "not working". Why not? Is it a police problem, a court problem, or what?

Tom Casady said...

Unfortunately, I don't have enough time in the day to respond to every post, but I'll hit a few tonight.

Steven: House arrest is a provision of a court order conditionally releasing a defendant. It is enforced by the Court, but the Court's probation officers are generally not out at night checking (not their fault--it's primarily a budget issue). The usual mechanism is that a police officer encounters the defendant up to no good, and forwards a report to the day-shift probation officer. We do not have close to enough resources to proactively check these defendants or do the job of the probation office. Police officers tend to view things like "house arrest," "electronic monitoring," "work release," "pre-trial diversion", "drug court," and "intensive supervision probation" as a cruel joke. We have to constantly remember that we only see the failures--while most people do okay with these less restrictive and less expensive alternatives to the slammer. I may sound cynical from time to time, but I am trying to keep it all in perspective.

Next, Anonymous "...freedom of speech."

It's my blog. Start your own. I can moderate it if I want. So far, I've only deleted about three posted comments. Maybe they are all yours. If you are auto posting, or excessively advertising your personal website, expect to be canned. Ditto if you are posting something that I think would jeopardize an ongoing case, a pending suit, or some one's personal right to privacy. I will also can any mindless insults, although there are plenty of ordinary insults on these posts, as you can see. I did not start this blog to be a forum for numb skulls to vent their spleen.

Finally, also bravely anonymous, "How many of those 'We' calls did you actually handle Chief?"

Answer 1: Not very many. More than any other police chief in a city of a quarter million. Believe it or not, I have different responsibilities than officers assigned to street duties. Not better, not worse, just different. I'm managing an organization of 422 employees. I think you'd have a challenge finding another chief in a city of this size who occasionally works a call, makes an arrest, can complete an incident report, run an MDC, and backs a fellow officer at 0300 a few times annually. I'd like to do more.

Answer 2: More than the number of City Council meetings you've testified at, pre-Council meetings you attended, Legislative committee hearings you testified at, ACUDAT meetings you facilitated, news media grillings you've endured, University classes you spoke to and recruited at, Academy courses you taught, Neighborhood Roundtable meetings you addressed, Citizen Academy classes you presented, Mayor's Multi-Cultural Advisory Committee meetings you spoke at, Federal District Court trials you've testified at, Citizen-Police Advisory Committee Hearings you attended, Budget Hearings you've defended at...need I continue. I would think that after my 32 years of service to the citizens of this community, I'd be able to use the collective pronoun "we" in referring to our work, and that you would be able to muster a better insult than the insinuation that I don't work hard enough. Want to trade hours? Have you noticed the time of day I make these posts?

Anonymous said...

bravo, chief! reading your replies, i've gotta say that i like your style, and that there's no substitute for telling it as it is. rest assured that many of us in this city appreciate all you do. my hat's off to the entire police dept. great job lpd!

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised to hear that this Sunday was busier than most, considering it's the weekend before finals at UNL. Still, it's amazing to know just how many calls were received. (Looking at the daily call summary at the LPD website, I'm curious -- does "False Alarm" refer an actual security alarm, or does it refer to calls that don't require police service?)

Lincoln is lucky to have such a great police department. Thank you, both to Chief Casady and to all the officers, for your hard work.

Former Deputy Duensing said...

Bravo Sir, Keep up the good work! Don't let the mindless bother you, WE know who WE are.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure the Weslyan security guard wasn't an off duty LPD'er working overtime there and driving drunk. I've heard that has been going on for some time now.

Amused by the ignorant said...

It seems that "anonymous" who posted at 12:22 still has some venting to do, although I don't think it's coming from his spleen.

It's a shame to have to wade through the stupidity to find the gems.

Anonymous said...

'How many of those 'We' calls did you actually handle Chief?'

That's just a completely ignorant question. A coach doesn't play in the game but he's part of the team. The Chief is LPD's coach and is part of the team.

Barbara said...

The security guy who was pulled over for drunk driving is not employed by LPD and isn't employed by Wesleyan. NWU contracts with Securitas, a private company. That private company screens and hires its own employees.