Tuesday, April 29, 2008

(Sigh)

It started with this email to the Mayor on Wednesday....

"Dear Mayor Beutler,

Times are tough and it's not getting better. I'm basically a slave to my home as I can't afford to go out just to survive tax life in Nebraska and the recession. Everything is going up but my salary. Spring has sprung, the young animals with the booming car stereos are out in full force. Lincoln has an ordinance against this that is not enforced by any means, it's an absolute free for all. I have usually 100"drive by's" if not more everyday, 24 hrs. a day.

Where are the police, why aren't the laws enforced? It's an absolute out of control situation. These disrespectful animals rule this city. It's time to get tough and reclaim our city. I'm sick of it. You can hear them coming from city blocks away.The next time a new tax is emposed, it should be towards high powered car stereos. How about, after 2 stiff fines, the 3rd offense, the violator's vehicle is taken and sold? After much research, many cities are getting tough on these animals, where is Lincoln? Mayor, it's time to get tough!!!!!!!!

I'm sorry, I hate this state, I hate this city. I can't even spend an enjoyable evening in my own home, trying to save money just to be poor. It's to bad the University doesn't feel the way I do about this, maybe some action would be taken. It's time to revamp the Noise ordinance. Make the penalties stiff, this could add more officers and vehicles to the payroll,it would pay for itself and bring the city back to what it used to be. It would be like a duck shoot in a barrel.

Mayor, if you have interest, go downtown and just stand on a any street corner on "O" street, and count the number of violators, you'd be amazed. I feel better for expressing myself but since it doesn't benefit a realtor, developer, or the University, I highly doubt anything will be done at all. If you actually read this, thank you for your time Sir."

....and was followed by this reply, copied to me, on Friday:

"Thank you for taking the time to write Mayor Beutler about your concerns regarding Lincoln Police Department's enforcement activities related to noisy car stereos and your suggestion that the ordinances for this type of violation be changed to include the confiscation of the offender's vehicle. I am the Ombudsman for the City. It is my job to see that you receive responsible, courteous service from all departments of City government.

Upon receiving your correspondence, I contacted the Lincoln Police Department and the City Attorney's Office and asked how they may address your questions and suggestions. I have directed someone from the departments to contact you on behalf of the Mayor's office regarding thespecific concerns you have raised about enforcement efforts and making the law for noise violations stricter.

Your proposal to fund additional law enforcement officers and vehicles through increased fines appears to be an easy fix, however, Nebraska state law requires that proceeds from fines must go back to the state for distribution to the public schools. No city or county can create a revenue stream for itself from the collection of fines.

The City of Lincoln faces many of the same financial challenges that we, asindividuals encounter when trying to make our limited dollars stretch to over the spiraling increases in fuel costs and other necessities of life. By law, the City must operate in the black, so there can be no deficits pending. Much like your budget at home, the City has a finite amount offunds to cover our expenses, so we share your pain.

I will be monitoring the progress of our departments' response to your inquiries. Please feel free to call on me should you have other comments, questions or concerns about city government. You may reach me at 441-7511. I appreciate the effort you made in bringing your concerns to the attention of the Mayor's office.

Sincerely,
Ombudsman

Office of the Mayor
City of Lincoln, Nebraska"

....and ended with a cut 'n paste response from the applicable portions of this. I'm open to suggestions. Hey, at least we made some progress on this major investigation!

27 comments:

Prairie Dog said...

I enjoy reading citizen complaints no matter the gravity of the crime.

What type on-going training do sergeants go through once promoted? How different is their training compared to captains and assistant chiefs?

With all of the options out there in the business section at Barnes and Noble I didn't know if LPD subscribes to a certain style of leadership style.

I ask this because I was wondering how they would mentor up and down the chain of command when such citizen complaints come in?

Anonymous said...

I like this guy's idea for the penalities. Maybe the third offense take the stereo instead of the car. Granted, they'd go out and get a new stereo, but they'd be without one for a few days. It is a pain when you're at a red light and you can't even hear your own radio because the car next to/beside/behind/in front of yours is blasting their stereo so loud.

Anonymous said...

This all comes back to an all around lack of respect for one another. The loud stereo players lack respect for those around them. Citizens lack respect for the police. It sucks but I think it's been the plight of mankind since Roman times.

copstar said...

Walk in the shoes of a cop for just a day folks-there are so many more bigger problems out there than booming stereos. We simply don't have the time and resources to police THAT too. I wish 0I could be the one responding to these silly complaints. Sometimes people need to hear the truth.

Anonymous said...

The reason that citizens think that noise ordinances and grass blown on the wrong driveway are the BIG issues here is the fault of the media. For example, there have been two shootings in the past month or so. one at 23-U where one car load was firing shots form a hand gun at another car, and more recently at the KWIK SHOP at 33-Holdrege, where the lot was full of fights and two people began firing guns at each other. Oddly enough neither of these even got a mention in the news paper. Maybe the PD didn't release the info, or maybe the paper chose not to run the article. Either way, there is the perception that these events aren't happen here and the need for more police is not as dire as we know it really is. And while I'm on my media kick, a fireman named Dan got a DUI the other day, why was that not in the paper??? When a cop named Jen did the same it was in the papers and on the TV....gotta love the golden boys...

Anonymous said...

When I was growing up in a city a little larger than Lincoln (but with a lot more cops), neighborhood associations would hire off duty cops to patrol only their neighborhoods and parks during the night. Private citizens even hired off duty cops to stand in front of their house to stop and write tickets to those with loud stereos. I would consider doing that if it meant my 2 year old could actually sleep all the way through from 10:00PM to 2:00AM.

Tom Casady said...

P-dog-

For sergeants, an orientation to specific job duties by our training staff, a week-long required supervision course at the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center, and a few days of "field training" with current sergeants. Most new sergeants have already had some significant exposure to the work tasks of first line supervisors prior to promotion.

For captains, additional week long required police management class at NLETC, followed by any OJT needed (highly-dependent on individual). Many captains will have the opportunity to attend the FBI National Academy, a 12-week intensive management training program in Quantico, VA (Capt. Brian Jackson is there now.)

LPD's budget for outside training is less than $100 per employee, so we are pretty much stuck with what is either free or cheap, and close by. There are, however, lots of training opportunities in our area with little or no cost. An even bigger problem for us is probably time--because of our small size, its hard to spring many people loose for training.

Michael Hendel said...

I heartily agree with most of the citizen's comments. It is becoming a terrible 'quality of life' issue. The most troubling thing was in the reply from the ombudsman she states "Nebraska state law requires that proceeds from fines must go back to the state for distribution to the public schools." So that is why fines (parking tickets, etc.) are so cheap here in Lincoln. I came from San Francisco and when I got a parking ticket here I laughed my head off. Change the state law so that the city can keep the money and the police would have an incentive to enforce these 'quality of life' issues. We pay more than enough for these schools as it is. They certainly don't seem to teach them any civility.

Anonymous said...

I have been buying POWERBALL tickets for many years now. One of my daydreams about what I would do with some of the money from my winnings address the issue of loud stereos in vehicles.

My plan is to buy one of those cargo vans that have the electrically operated sliding doors on both the left and right sides of the van. I plan on buying the biggest most powerful speakers that will fit in the van. About a 5,000 Watt Amp with huge woofers and tweaters ( don't ask me what the heck they are). The ear plugs I use on the shootin range should protect my ears. I will cruise the streets that all the young punks with the high volume stereos like to drive on. When I find one of these obnoxious stereos I will pull right beside them on either side. Hopefully this will be at a stop light and they will be trapped in place. I will then pop in my CD of "THE GRATEST HITS OF SLIM WHITMAN". I will crank the volume up to about 140 decibels and open the sliding door next to them. I figure when Slim hits his famous High G# the slobbering idiot next to me will be rendered deaf for about ten years!!

I already have the Slim Whitman CD and I am accepting donations to buy more Powerball tickets. Maybe you can start a fund where donations can be sent Chief.

Gun Nut

P.S. I just realized maybe a CD of Tiny Tim's "TIP TOE THROUGH THE TULIPS" might be a better choice. Maybe someone can donate that to the cause.

Anonymous said...

I live on the corner of N. 11th & P downtown and have for the past six months. I am woken up every night by the sounds of screaming. At first I was terrified, but now I just know it is drunken 21 year olds, screaming for no reason.

The problem is not the noise anymore, it is the fact that these drunk people are getting in their cars, and driving away. Absolutely drunk driving. This happens every night, Monday through Sunday, but it is clearly worse Thursday-Saturday. With the nice weather coming around, it is getting worse and worse.

I can literally hear EVERY word of conversations; drunken battles of girls and guys deciding who is the least drunk to drive their car home.

Please put officers not only on O Street, but on these popular side streets. I can only imagine that these drinkers park so far away as to escape the O St. force. Maybe this tactic will scare at least a handful of people from drinking to the point of excess and getting behind the wheel.

Anonymous said...

You win the powerball Gun Nut and I'll sell you my Tiny Tim CD.

Tom Casady said...

12:36-

That's my problem, there aren't any more police officers to deploy elsewhere. At bar break, we are up to our neck, and far too many resources get sucked into the downtown area, at the expense of the rest of the city.

Your taxes fund the smallest police department per capita in the State, and the 181st of 194 in Nebraska and all surrounding States--right in between Indianola, IA and Liberty, MO.

To police officers (self included) it seems like the demand to squash sign-posters, leaf-blowers, bad parkers, loud stereos and the like--though annoyances for sure--is coming from citizens who are somewhat oblivious to bigger problems that we see every day and are exasperated by. Hence my long sigh. It's a sigh of frustration that the expectations are great, but the resources scant.

We can't possibly catch every drunk driver leaving the downtown area at 1:00 AM, but we give it a good try. There are well over 1,500 DWI arrests in Lincoln annually, and the downtown near 1:00 AM is the greatest concentration.

Anonymous said...

It is true that a lot of laws seem to be enforced on a selective nature. While I understand that not everything can have priority, I was quite disturbed to see how a party disturbance was handled in a quite south Lincoln neighborhood. Police entering a house without a warrant. Guns being drawn and pointed at unarmed citizens. What has LPD come to? Thank goodness we have cameras at our disposal to catch these acts. Perhaps our officers are not properly trained to handle simple house parties anymore? These budget cuts really show.

Discuss...

http://youtube.com/watch?v=HFl-YN26kw8

Anonymous said...

Whats so disturbing. I would have expected to see a video thanking the police for not arresting those that had the chance to leave. But after viewing the video I realized that I spent my time watching a bunch of drunkin fools who have a lack of vocabulary.

Anonymous said...

I didn't see any guns drawn even though there was a significant officer safety issue. I saw a taser aimed at the advancing group of inebriated wanna-be lawyers. That's what drunkie was talking about when he slurred 'You don't have to laser me man.' There is a laser pointing device and light on the taser. Since there are so few cops in Lincoln there were only two cops at the call so the taser was the great equalizer against the crowd.

Just video proof to all the kiddies that when the police ask you to break up a party and leave it's easier to do what you are asked than to have to go to jail so the cops can get back to picking up illegal signs, bad parkers and leaf blowers.

Anonymous said...

to anonymous 9:05,

The quite south Lincoln neighborhood will be quite once again now that the police have apparently used appropriate force to quell the disturbance caused by these intoxicated party guests. Also, from my monitor, it appeared to be a Taser, not a gun. Displaying it seemed to work well to gain their cooperation.

Anonymous said...

What exactly is the mind set of someone who thinks this youtube video actually helps his case?

Anonymous said...

The video poster took my response down so I will air my laundry here. First it is plain stupid to NOT abide by the directions of a police officer, even more so when drunk. Even a jail house lawyer knows about credibility. If you have questions you abide first then ask questions later, that is the way the system works.
Most people in Lincoln do NOT want drunk party goers roaming the neighborhood, got it? Also this video shows how alcohol can alter judgments. He thought this video would help. How INSANE. This video did get one point accross, and that is that drunk people are really silly when drunk, and thats that.
BBRK

Anonymous said...

It seems obvious that many of the comments in response to the south lincoln party are comming from loyal LPD officers. That is fine. You guys/gals have a tough job to do. I respect what you do for our city. The fact is, you entered a house without a warrant to break up a simple party. The "rookie" comment stands. I am an objective observer, but it seems that the officers who responded to the "call" could not control a simple situation. Would it not have been more due process friendly to go back to the station and print a quick warrant before entering the dwelling to arrest inmates of said disorderly household? I would imagine that the CA is not going to be able to file any charges against the parties involved, therefore we have once again wasted a nice piece of the city budget we don't have. It's too bad that you did not deploy the taser (TASR NASDAQ), as I have a long position in taser international and I hear the cartridges are not cheap.

Also Chief, maybe the "Chief's corner" could use a section called, "Tommy C's big word or phrase of the day" section. That way, the tax paying citizens of Lincoln would not have to search through all the posts to see how you show off your Harvard like vocabulary.

Nick Weisbeck said...

This is my first time on "The Chief's Corner" and I have to say I'm impressed by the Chief taking time to not only blog BUT join the discussion with follow up comments. I highly doubt most police chiefs take this kind of time to address citizens complaints. Each time I come in contact with an officer I am left with more and more respect for the department. Just watch the video I can't imagine being that patient with those DRUNK kids. For anyone who has tried to reason with a drunk you know what I'm talking about. My concerns these days are not about signs, litter or stereos but sex offenders. Go to Family Watchdog and look and see how many are in your zipcode I live in a building with 3. 2 of which my landloard was unaware of. People could drive by my complex everday with their stereo loud and throwing trash out just as long as they are not drunk and assaulting anyone. Ask not what your city can do for you. ASK WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR CITY. I pick up litter and I throw those stupid signs away because it's quicker than writting an e-mail some city offical!

Anonymous said...

does the mayor's officer know what the space bar is used for?

Tom Casady said...

5:55, those missing spaces were my errors. I cut and pasted the text from an email, and it re-wrapped without the line feeds. I just neglected to catch them all.

Anonymous said...

April 30, 2008 10:46 PM Writes:
due process friendly ...
This kind of liberal thinking really ticks me off. You soil our city with loud and drunkin partys and then you want a "due process friendly" warrant? Gee, you cops do have a tough job. This poster should be evaluated by a competant mental health person.

Anonymous said...

I am quite disturbed to see that the video poster doesn't understand the difference in spelling "quiet" and "quite", even though he knows so much about the law...but I guess proper spelling isn't required in Law Skool anymore.

Anonymous said...

6:48, maybe the video might have skipped their bar exam and gone straight to the wet bar exam.

Anonymous said...

chief casady,

thanks for your response re: drunk drivers downtown. i was just suggesting maybe pulling one or two officers from the O st. line of officers to patrol around the side streets, though you may do this already! or...i have no idea how to run a police department and keep doing what you are doing! it just makes me nervous when i hear drunk people driving away every single night.

the noise and other annoyance complaints i am sure come in in any city. the people complaining about the leaf blower should come live in my apartment for one night, and they would never complain again:D

thanks for the response!

-12:36
(though it is 1:19 now!)

Karin Dalziel said...

Maybe we could start a fund to buy people white noise machines. This has been my ticket to sleep despite neighbors' yapping dogs and screaming kids, train whistles, and, oh yeah, the loud cars.

You just can't control every noise outside your home, unless you buy an acreage. And having slept on a farm, I know frogs and crickets bug me too.

Also: Calling people animals is hardly a way to start a civil discourse. Better to put an angry letter away for a day and read it when you're calmer.