Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Season opener

Saturday night was the University of Nebraska's first game of the 2009 football season. It was also the peak of the 10-day run of the Nebraska State Fair, just a few blocks from Memorial Stadium. The Nebraska v. Florida Atlantic game put 85,719 in the stands at Memorial Stadium. Saturday attendance at the State Fair was 44,566. Predictably, it was also one of our busiest single days of 2009, with 512 dispatches. July 5 edged it out by a nose, at 515.

Game day went great. Sgt. Shannon Karl’s detailed game plan for traffic control was carried out by a group of hot, tired police officers who got everyone to the stadium for kickoff, and headed home in good shape afterwards. I am amazed at how effectively we clear out those intersections post-game. We are able to finish up the traffic detail about an hour after the end of the game. If you’ve ever been to Boulder, Ames, or Columbia, you know that it isn’t the case in all Big 12 cities.

Despite what I perceive as a great job on game days, I got a sarcastic email Sunday that started like this:

“After living in Lincoln for 35 years, I have never been impressed with the police department's ability to conduct traffic control. Last night (Sept. 5, 2009) showed giving a badge to someone does not increase their intelligence. It only gives them the feeling they are God.”

and ended with

“Seems to me the Lincoln police officers should learn traffic control in the big city before attempting to try it in Lincoln. All officers also need to be reminded the badge does not make them all-knowing. It only allows them to screw things up legally.”

His chief complaint was the five minute wait to cross N. 14th Street as a pedestrian at the peak of State Fair traffic. Loved his suggestion that we learn about traffic control in the big city. I’ve spent the better part of a day trying to get out of Arrowhead before.


Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be great to have this person out in the street to see how well he does? I wonder how long it would take before he would want to throttle the wandering pedestrians or the motorists trying to get to their favorite spot.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Some people just always know more than you.

Hey Cheif, can you give us any details about this assult on a police officer last week?

Anonymous said...

Most "big cities" don't put the resources into game day traffic that LPD does. I spoken to Officers from other Big 12 cities and they were verry impressed with what LPD does. It took me over an hour to get on the Interstate leaving South Bend a few years back. 80,000+ people all want to get somewhere and they think their destination is the most important.

Tom Casady said...


I assume you refer to the two officers who got punched and head butted while dealing with the party in the 2400 block of J early on Saturday morning. Neither officer was seriously hurt, but when you assault a police officer, it's a felony crime.

This was quite an event. A gathering of many well-known criminals got out of hand, the police were called, and we ultimately had to get all hands on deck to restore order. Hopefully the defendants will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

I knew that there were some news coverage about it on Sunday, and I thought I would include a link to one of those, so I Googled LINCOLN POLICE ASSAULT and hit the News link. This was the first hit. Good grief.

Anonymous said...

I had to chuckle when you said assaulting us is a felony. I can't remember any time that a person was actually convicted of a felony for assaulting an officer. There may have been some serious assaults that were but all the punching type are always plead to misd.
It's a joke and the bad guys know it. A hundred dollar fine and you can punch a cop.

Steve said...

Why don't we try just letting the traffic lights handle game traffic next time? It might be interesting.

Anonymous said...


Indeed. The pedestrians would ignore the signals entirely, and the cars would block each intersection for the cross streets, instead of stopping before entering the intersection when there is no room ahead. This would create massive gridlock. Should be fun.

Anonymous said...

Cheif, I think LPD does an excellent job with crowd and traffic control during the football games. KUDOS to all the officers working traffic on game days!
I hope that the clowns who punched two of Lincoln's finest get more than a slap on the wrist.

Steve said...

Well, we could try it like it was in many places in southeast asia when I was in the navy: eliminate all traffic controls whatsoever. Everybody just does whatever they need to do to get where they want to go. It worked pretty good over there. In the two years I was over there, the only accident I saw was when an American driver was involved. I thought it was pretty neat; kind of like bumper cars at the fair.

Trevor Brass said...

Meh, can't please everyone.

Anonymous said...

Why are people so impatient what is a 5 minute wait to cross the street at the height of this type of traffic?

I see cars here in Omaha pulling out into the intersections before the light even turns green.

It is literally taking your life into your hands some days when you have to drive to work.

Anonymous said...

Chief-I'll chime in on a few topics. The 72 Fury's with the 440 Magnum engines were pretty hot, particularly if one flipped the lid on the air cleaner so you could hear the big Carter 4 barrell carb suck air and fuel. But the little Chevy Novas handled better until the exhaust system got ripped off when going over certain railroad tracks. However poor they were then, nothing compared to the feeling of riding those old AMF Harleys.

The Nebraska State Fair moving to Grand Island was the subject of a radio show I heard recently. It brought back several memories for me. First, I remember two young kids going missing my first year on LPD and their bodies were later found in a railroad tank car. I remember stopping a car while on foot patrol that was full of carnies. I subsequently got a runaway from Washington an escaped federal prisoner, and two misc. NCIC hits.I remember going off-duty to the fair with other officers and wives and walking upon a person we had been looking for for quite awhile on an armed robbery. The poor soul was taken into custody. I believe Peschong was there for that one. Finally, I remember sweating out numerous beverages while directing traffic in a motorcycle helmet at 17th-Holdrege to insure football and State Fair attendees got to their destinations quickly and safely.

Finally, Darrell and Arnie Brown, two brothers, both got several years for assaulting me. Asst. Chief Peschong was there for that one as well.

No matter what the critics say, LPD does a great job for the community with limited resources.


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't want near that many cars nor stand in any street for any $$$$$. What a complainer. He should buy pay per view and stay home. Delays are the essence of game day. Time to reflect.

Eric said...

This doesn't have to do with traffic control, but it does have to do with Lincoln vs. the Big City. How is it that Lincoln has effectively controlled bums asking for money downtown? I live downtown Omaha, and I'm getting so sick of people asking for money. It seems like you're doing something better than the big city because I never get asked for money in Lincoln.