Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What about Bob?

What will we do without Bob?

Today is that last day at the Lincoln Police Department for Capt. Bob Wilhelm, who is retiring after 32 years of service. Bob has been commanding the Southwest Police Team for the past several years, and has reached the end of his deferred retirement option. He'll be at work this morning, giving the job exactly the same attention he always has. There has been no let up as his retirement date approached. That's just he kind of guy he is: committed, responsible, and principled.

Bob and I go back to the beginning. He's worn many hats during his career, and accomplished many things. One of his most significant attributes is the compassion he has brought to the department. He has devoted countless hours to serving others in the community who are less fortunate, and in seeding these values among his coworkers.

Bob has been especially active as an advocate for people who have few resources. He was a board member of the Friendship Home for several years, and organized his coworkers to participate in the "Safe Quarters" fund drive. He organized the police department's command staff to serve the poor at The Gathering Place, he helped start and support a grass-roots effort among officers to improve our services to Latino residents. He's coordinated our Food Bank drive, United Way campaign, donation drive for Fresh Start, and a variety of other philanthropic projects.

During the past ten years leading the 46 officers and employees of the Southwest Team, Capt. Wilhelm has cultivated extensive contacts with the residents, businesses, and institutions in his area. He has participated in community affairs in southwest Lincoln extensively, and has involved his entire team in this endeavor. Bob is a committed stakeholder in Southwest Lincoln. He has created and maintained a citizen advisory council, initiated many special projects and efforts to improve the quality of life in his area of responsibility, and worked tirelessly to support the efforts of his staff.

Throughout his career, Capt. Wilhelm has been a man of impeccable ethics. In staff meetings, he is frequently the one who raises the ethical issues, who stands for principal, and who defends the interests of the disenfranchised: people of color, the poor, immigrants, and people suffering from mental illnesses. Capt. Wilhelm, above all, has worked to ensure equitable policing, and the respect for all people regardless of their station in life.

I'm going to miss Bob terribly. I'll miss the daily banter, the wry sense of humor, the irrepressible joy he takes in his work, the inimitable way he has of making me rethink my own actions and motives, the way he makes me laugh.

If you run into a 6'7" tall guy with a full head of black hair, driving a Frosty Treats truck or collecting scrap metal, and he answers to "Skippy", wish him well.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I had the opportunity to work with Bob on some problems in my neighborhood regarding the Gathering Place. He listened, and offered advice and solutions to the issue. He will be missed in my nighborhood. Best of Luck to him on his retirement!

Anonymous said...

Captain, Thank you for your service. It is policemen like you that give officers a person to look up to and emulate. Thank you again and good luck with your future.

Anonymous said...

We do not know what are going to do without Bob.What will Lincoln be like when he retires? I think I need another box of kleenx.

Anonymous said...

Capt. Wilhelm is a class act, and Lincoln was lucky to have him as a police officer all these years. Have a great retirement Bob - you deserve it!

Dave Harnly said...

Sorry I couldn't make the party this afternoon, Bob...enjoy your retirement...as I have mine