Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mixed reviews

I had a speaking engagement yesterday at Face the Chamber, the weekly Chamber of Commerce luncheon. It was a big crowd, and I talked about the same things I've mentioned repeatedly in The Chief's Corner. The difference is that a very short synopsis of some of my remarks appeared in a Lincoln Journal Star article, which provoked a decidedly mixed bag of reactions in the comments.

The article mentioned nothing about my response to the question posed by an audience member concerning the recent theft of 60 bras from Victoria's Secret ("Wouldn't be news if it had been 60 neckties, would it?"). Oh well.

I intentionally started provocatively by repeating a theme I often hear in conversations outside the police department: Omaha is great, Lincoln sucks. That's not a quote, but lots of people in Lincoln seem pretty envious of our Big Brother to the northeast and that's certainly the subtext in such conversations about that spanking new Dodge Street, World Market, the Qwest Center, and so forth. I like Omaha just fine, but I reminded everyone that from a violent crime standpoint, we're rolling in the clover by comparison. We ought to thank our lucky stars (not to mention my officers), and do all we can to keep it that way by getting behind the Stronger, Safer Neighborhoods initiative.

I think this is a particularly important message for the well-dressed crowd in the ballroom of the Lincoln Country Club. These are not folks who see the same things my officers do, or that the residents on Southwest A Beat observe. Out of sight, out of mind. All manner of commentators are imbuing ulterior motives to my highly-abridged message as summarized by the Journal Star, but I assure you, all I want is to encourage some thought by the opinion leaders in this community about what should be our mutual concern and common effort.

Looks like I ruffled some feathers. Guess I should have paid more attention to the digital recorder that was laying on the podium. Personally, I thought the quotable quip at Chamber luncheon concerned the recent boosting of 180 T-shirts from Abercrombie & Fitch--valued at $1.23 million. ;-) .


Anonymous said...

off topic but here goes.

A parents job
It is a parents job to know what our young people are doing. That being said I will point out one or two common duties.

What is your youth doing on Myspace. How many friends are listed that have web pages that are PRO-DRUG. They list drinking as being cool? They show photos of weed and other drugs. Our job is to take it down. By that I am saying if your youth are living in your house, they must go by your rules. All rules. If it is a rule they not drink or use drugs and you find friends that are boasting of drug and alcohol use. TAKE IT DOWN. I can not do that you say. Well let me tell you they have enough friends and you do not have to be one of them. You are a parent. Ok so you have a home that drinking is "COOL"

You can expect that your youth will think its "COOL"

Same with drugs. If you endorse it with your behavior it is like putting a fire out with gas. If you say I have allways done it and my children will say that its ok because you do it. You sit that person down and say we are making some changes. I am wrong and I am sorry. so from here on we are a non drinking and non drugging family.

Last get the following

You think you know what going on. Try this. If you have an honest youth you are blessed. My guess is most have the parents befouled.

Anonymous said...

Crime occurs all over Omaha to some extent, but it seems (from incident maps, courtesy of U of Neb at Omaha) that the vast, highly disproportionate majority of Omaha's violent and other serious crime occurs inside what I label the "I-80/I-680 Shooting Gallery Loop". It's much like South KCMO's I-70/I-35-bordered (roughly) trapeziodal region below the river; the Westwood area, for starters.

We've got a lot of the same problems here in Lincoln, but to a lesser degree. We're grateful for Crime View Community as a resource to easily locate the hot and cold spots. Realtors may well be less enamored of this online tool when trying to unload properties located in or near the hot spots. It's one thing to move yourself into a hot area, but it's another to move your small children there, if you can afford to go cooler.

Anonymous said...

What do you expect from the Journal Star?? They have always taken the "juicy" bit from an interview to make "the story".

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Lincoln (admittedly awhile ago) and I had no idea about some of the things that went on then and now until I started teaching school. This brought me into contact with a much wider segment of the community and a wider view of the problems.

While I agree that parents have the lions share of responsibility for their kids I think the multi-pronged approach of the Safer Neighborhoods program is something that can really help those places in Lincoln that really need a boost from all of us.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anon 6:14 a.m. Furthermore, it's always a catch-22with a lot of people. They want the truth from someone in the know but they seem to want it sugar-coated too. Don't worry about it. There's no such thing as bad publicity.

Eric D'Agostino said...

As a Realtor in Lincoln I'd like to respond to "anonymous 2:03" when he/she mentions that we as Realtor's may not be enamored of certain online tools. I can only speak for myself here but I will tell you that I give my clients every tool I have available to me that will help them make an informed real estate decision. This includes providing them with the links to look for community information online. I am grateful that this information is available to all who live here.

Anonymous said...

Lincoln may have less violent crime, but Lincoln is horrible if you compare it to Omaha in terms of business. We haven't had a pro business mayor in this century. Seng knocked down countless business projects to keep a "small town" atmosphere. Violent crime or not, I'd much rather be in Omaha.

Anonymous said...

I've was a cop in Lincoln and am now a cop in the big "O". I have to say Omaha is bigger and yes better, and I dont mean just the city. If I had a loved one be the victim of a violent crime (god forbid), I would much rather it be investigated by Omaha P.D. Bigger departments in bigger cities usually translates to more experience. Omaha cops get the experience Lincoln cops do not.

Yes it's true violent crime in Omaha is higher, but it's still unlikely for someone to be a victim of a violent crime. Fortunately, criminals tend to victimize their own (generally speaking, gangs v. gangs), so if you are a victim of a violent crime in Omaha, you are likely to be a criminal. Not much sympathy for criminals. There are exceptions of course, the recent slayings in Dundee for example, those victims were not criminals. So... if you subtract the gang related criminal activity in Omaha (which has little effect on the quality of life for law abidding citizens), Omaha is not much different for violent crime then Lincoln. And... if you were unfortunate enough to be the victim of a violent crime, you would be better off having a Omaha cop investigate it. I know, I was a Lincoln cop. A busy night for a Lincoln cop consisted of a DUI, urinating in public, and a drunk college kid or two. In Omaha, a busy night would be a cutting, two or three shootings, and going half the shift with my gun un-holstered. I am not bad mouthing my former brothers in Lincoln, they are good cops. I am just saying it the way it is. I didn't know what being a cop was until I went to Omaha.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post by anonymous Omaha cop. Whether or not I would rather have an Omaha or Lincoln cop investigate a crime is a moot point. Omaha cops don't investigate anything. No interviews, no photos, no fingerprints... Just one quick bare-bones report and "A detective will call you in a day or so..." then it's off to the next shooting, stabbing etc. Quantity, in this case, does not make up for quality. Lincoln cops as a whole are better trained and well-rounded due to the "generalist officer concept." This allows them to play a much greater role in an investigation. Don't believe it? Ask any federal agency (FBI,DEA...)
who they would rather hire as an employee, an Omaha or Lincoln cop.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:28 PM-- For someone not trying to badmouth your former Lincoln brothers, you did a lousy job. The only thing I would have to say about your comments is this: If Lincoln cops are such poor investigators, explain how it is that every time one of them goes to Omaha, they become a star investigator for OPD. The reality is that Lincoln cops actually get more investigative experience just because they have to, since we are responsible for most of our own cases. The things you stated may be your opinion, but they have little basis in fact.

Anonymous said...

Touchy Touchy. Remember guys. I was a Lincoln Cop for nearly a decade. I know exactly what kind of things an officer does in Lincoln. I also have the knowledege and EXPERIENCE (which you do not) what a cop does in Omaha. To say an Omaha cop does no investigating is inaccurate. I did many follow-ups as a street cop in Lincoln and Omaha. I also have the ability to compare both departments from my knowledge base. The fact remains both departments train their officers well. I have to say Omaha does a better job in training for tactical situations. Both are equal for training in investigations. It's my opinion Omaha cops do a better job investigating major crimes (homicides, robberies, etc..) because they simply do it more often. Sorry if your feelings are wounded by this. Its just the way it is. If you think dusting for fingerprints makes you a better investigator, it just shows your lack of knowledge as an invesitgator. In doing both (dusting for fingerprints and having a crime lab technician dust for prints), I must say its better to have an experienced crime lab tech, whoes soul job is to do crime scene work, take care of the crime scene work. This allows the investigator to concentrate his efforts on other aspects of the investigation. Lets next look at turnover in Lincoln. I have yet to see an Omaha cop leave the job to work for loss protection in a retail store, or sell insurance, or even work for a bigger department. This is common place in Lincoln, and remember I know. The only cops who do leave Omaha, retire after they put in their 20.

Anonymous said...

If I had to guess by your grammar in the post and the type of police work you did (or didn't do) during your "almost a decade" as a Lincoln cop, you might of been a downtown bike cop for a significant amount of that time. Good luck to you in Omaha, and may you shine in your career as a "Big O" officer. Be safe.

Anonymous said...

close but no cigar

Anonymous said...

There you have it, according to Anon 4:28 the secret to staying safe in Omaha is not to stand next to a criminal.

Anonymous said...

"recent boosting of 180 T-shirts from Abercrombie & Fitch--valued at $1.23 million."
Sorry but I don't think Abercrombie sells $6k tshirts