Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What you don't know might hurt you

I have been a Lincoln resident since the age of 2. I grew up here, went to school here, and have lived in a few different areas of this town. When I was going through the hiring process with Sgt Jim Hawkins, I remember him asking my why I would make a good police officer for the City of Lincoln. ‘I’ve lived here my whole life’ I said, ‘I know the area, I know the people, I know how the city works.’ Boy was I na├»ve. Within my first week on the street with an FTO I found out just how uninformed I was about Lincoln. I soon was dealing with intoxicated transients, weekend hard partiers, and legions of petty criminals and police department frequent fliers. Not to mention the hardcore criminals who inhabit the city. Of course, growing up I knew those people and areas existed in this city, I just did not know the extent. I read the paper, I listened to the news, and I tried to keep up to date on most current events. Why did I not know about the issues that police officers were dealing with on a day to day basis?
I am still not sure I have the answer to that question. But I am sure that the majority of Lincoln citizens have no idea what is going on in this city. The print and broadcast media do not even scratch the surface in reporting the happenings. I am not a conspiracy theory kind of guy but I’ve often wondered if some of the crime stories are downplayed or not covered at all, simply in an attempt to keep Lincoln’s small town reputation in tact. Or maybe the news media is completely unaware as well. They rely on press briefings and interviews with the duty captains to find out the events of the day. Maybe the captains are not relating those details to the media. I think we as police officers are so used to hearing and dealing with these events that we have lost the ability to be shocked and we take them as ‘business as usual’. Of course I understand that on-going investigations and prosecutions cannot be talked about with any detail. I know there is not enough time or space to cover all the happenings in the paper or a 30 minute television broadcast. There is little wonder why there are so many lincolnites who make negative comments about LPD. They honestly think that all we do is sit in our cars and write speeding tickets, or stand out and direct traffic at Husker football games.
As a means of taking off the blinders, did you know that last year almost 70 police officers were assaulted? Or that so far this year over 30 officers have been assaulted? Did you know that LPD has investigated over 200 auto thefts so far this year? Are you aware that LPD SWAT gets called out about once a month and has been called out about 12 times this year? Did you even know LPD has a SWAT team? Has the media mentioned that LPD has investigated over 1100 narcotics offenses in the first half of 2008? Or talked about the 650 residential burglaries that Lincoln has experienced? Or the 150 non-residential burglaries through July? Is the average citizen informed of the 15 suicides or the 200 attempted suicides that LPD has investigated in 2008? Is John Q. Public aware of the Lincoln officers that have been commended this year for actions ranging from civic involvement, to outstanding investigations, to life saving efforts?
As a police officer I am aware of these stats, and I still think Lincoln is a great place to live and a safe place to raise a family. But now I am making that statement knowing the facts, and not just what I’ve heard or read in the news, or experienced in my own safe little neighborhood. Now I really do know this city.


Posted by Atticus at 3:14 PM 0 comments

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I like the title of the blog today and it is right on time for my comment.
Some of the readers remember MJ.
I use the initials so to remain anonymous.

MJ had his MySpace taken over by the parents after it was discovered that drug related activity was taking place online. MJ was sent to treatment at Hastings Nebraska.
MJ is home now professing to have made some changes and we all were excited for his recovery and attempt to live a sober life.
Then the what I don't know wont hurt me part.
I accidentally left my digital voice recorder on last night while me and mom went out for dinner.
I know that MJ is playing us all as fools. MJ says that as soon as his home monitoring device is removed that he is going to cut and run and go to Iowa where the adult age is 18. MJ thinks that the juvenile court has no power if he leaves the state and the OJS parole office can not touch him if he is in Iowa. MJ has told both his sister and his biological Mother this factoid on the phone last night. Mother has no intention of letting us know this information and the sister as well. MJ has a screw the people who are trying to help me attitude, and has all the counselors and his OJS officer buffaloed. MJ is 18 now. If Nebraska had the age of majority of 18 still, I would boot his behind out the door this morning.
Alcohol and drug counselors have a tough job. They have to trudge through the bull crap and get to the core problem. Even the best OJS and AD counselors can be taken by a tactful and clever user on his way to relapse. My son MJ has not had a drink or drug for three months that I know of. But this behavior is a sign that the next binge has begun. I know because of the view that MJ has of the world that MJ is headed to a life of destruction and failure. The people that had helped MJ will be in my thoughts. Don't ever give up. you may have not got through to MJ, but if you get to just one person, the time spent has been worth it.
A final thought. I hope OJS keeps MJ on the program for another 11 months. MJ needs his OJS officer. She is the only door between MJ and failure. Thank you OJS.
P.S when MJ is 19 he will be cut free to fail if he so chooses, but the winners hang with the sober folks.

Anonymous said...

Exactly right. A person will get a better idea about what happens here, where it happens, and when it happens from reading the daily LPD incident summaries that they ever could from our shabby excuse for a local newspaper.

The incident summaries are great, and a lot like a Tamagotchi - there's almost always more incidents every time you visit, like a market ticker. Make a toolbar button for it and visit often.

It's been said many times before, but please close your garage doors, lock your exterior doors (even if you're "only going around back for a minute"), regardless of your neighborhood. Lock your car, and don't leave any swag visible (and remove that faceplate). No, putting jacket over your purse doesn't fool anybody; they'll just bust your window to see what that big lump is. If we just do these little things to make our property a harder target, we'll free up manpower that would otherwise be investigating the purse that got ripped out of your car, because it was in plain sight on the floorboard.

Anonymous said...

I've always felt that one of the biggest contributors to Lincoln resident's rose colored glasses has to do w/ the JournalStar's publishing schedule.

Not sure what the Saturday night cut off is for stories to get into the Sunday paper - but I suspect it's around 8 p.m. (unless its a breaking story around the Huskers...)

But that effectively means that anything happening on one of your busiest nights goes unreported.

Sure major cases that are dealt w/ Saturday night / Sunday might show up - but a lot of the day to day activity you all deal with gets lost and ultimately unreported or underreported.

Not that I have any solutions...just an observation.

Anonymous said...

Here's one the paper hasn't yet bothered to notice:

NW A 136 ROBBERY 0518 8-14-2008 500 BLOCK W SAUNDERS AVE A8-079697 HELD DOWN ONTO ROADWAY BY UNK W/M WHILE OTHER CHOSE ITEMS CELL PHONE, ID, CASH, CCS, SS CARD, GREEN CARD, WALLET

5:18 am, I wonder if that was somebody that was walking to their first shift job, when they were robbed. It's hard to tell from a single summary line.

Anonymous said...

I've lived in Lincoln for over 58 years, so maybe you'd appreciate my input on what John Q. Public knows about what goes on in Lincoln. I only skim the paper, because LJS seems to have an agenda in its reporting policies rather than just reporting what has happened using the well-known five-W method (who, what, when, where, and why). I only watch television news occasionally because they are after ratings more than actually informing residents of what is going on around them. Still, I do have a good idea of what is going on around Lincoln because I keep my eyes open, and I read things like this blog. If you feel that the public is not aware of what is going on, I think you're mistaken. Sure, some of the more naive are shocked to know of some of the calls you officers have to handle. But, mostly, people just don't care about the drug dealers and other low-lifes that are both the perpetrators and the victims of a good deal of the crime going on in this city. People are also frustrated by the fact that no matter how diligent our police force is in apprehending the criminals, they are (more often than not) back on the street in a matter of months, days, or even hours for one reason or another. Personally, I have few complaints about the police, but many about the judicial and legislative system.

Ed S 359 said...

Atticus,

What a comment! You said so much so well that we could write a book and not cover everything needed to fill in the blanks.

Lincoln is a great place to live, a great place to raise a family as well as a safe place to do so.

If I was not on the job I would not want to know about the things that go on in Lincoln that I do. I do not believe most people really want to know about them. We all have our personal crises, our personal and family problems, and disappointments and shames. These are all most of want to deal with and truth be told, these are all most of us have the capacity to deal with.

That is why you and those you work with are here; you know about, worry about, and deal with those things, leaving the rest of us to deal with our lives.

It is part of the protect portion of ‘to protect and serve.’ Mostly, to my mind, it is the most important part.

Lincoln is a great place. Still I don't want my wife, my daughter, my son-in-law, my grandsons be intimately familiar with and drug down by the knowledge of Lincoln's dark side. Your most important task is to take that knowledge upon yourself and protect our loved ones from the ravages to their minds, bodies and souls that that knowledge would bring to them. Thank you.

Atticus said...

6:49- You may be right about that. In that case, maybe I am wearing rose colored glasses as well. It seems easier to swallow that the citizens don't know what is going on, as opposed to just don't care. Thanks for your comments.

Atticus said...

ed s 359- I don't want my loved ones to have all the gory details as well. In that context I agree with you. I may share a bit here and there but I am sure my family does not know, or need to know, all we deal with while we are at work.
However, in the context of being informed, I think it is important that Lincolnites realize that Lincoln is growing up. There really are bad people living here and preying on the rest of us. It is not necessary to give so much information that people are afraid to leave their homes. On the other hand, maybe people would take more protective precautions if they clearly understood what is actually going on in Lincoln.
I don't want my family to see the boogeyman around every corner, but I do want them to limit the boogeyman's targeting ability if he's in the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

We have a great Police Chief here. I really believe that. Now to get to the point. I think he would be doing this blog a great service if he used his authority to delegate this blog to Atticus. How about it chief?

Anonymous said...

from Ne state fair sched:

08.25 Dana Kunze Pirates of the Caribbean High Dive Show

Location:
KidzZone

Time:
3:00 PM

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a quiet little city. Try having a homicide every night or every other night then you'll see what my community is like.
You should be thankful.

Anonymous said...

I've really liked Atticus' guest blogging, but I'm going to disagree that he should take this blog over on a permanent basis. It is called the Chief's Corner for a reason.

There's nothing that says he can't start his own blog, however. I'd surf in every day.