Monday, November 23, 2009

Quite a night

A few weeks ago, reporter Deena Winter asked me if she could spend a shift with one of our downtown officers. Officer Chris Vigil got the assignment, and the result was this article in yesterday’s Sunday Lincoln Journal Star.

It’s good for citizens to get a glimpse into the world their police officers encounter on game days—or for that matter on about any Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. It helps build support for the police, and creates a little greater understanding about the challenges we encounter. While most LPD officers are Husker fans just like other Nebraskans, the experience of game days is not quite the same for a police officer in downtown Lincoln as it is for the fans.

Police experience taxed my loyalty to my alma mater. Back in the 1970’s and 1980’s, I worked every home game for 13 consecutive seasons. When I finally had the seniority to do so, I swore that I would never darken the door at Memorial Stadium voluntarily. For about a decade, I kept that pledge. When I finally returned, I learned that the experience as a spectator with a ticket can actually be rather pleasant. I must admit, though, that I don’t feel entirely disappointed when I must enjoy the game in the man cave at home.

I salute the officers who endure the long, trying, and tiresome day of a Nebraska home football game. They put up with all manner of abuse and deal with some of the worst behavior imaginable by otherwise “law-abiding” citizens. It takes a thick skin, a cool head, and more patience than you can imagine.

Go big red.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

As someone who parks in the garage on 10th street, I wish you knew how nice it is to have Sgt. Santacroce (sp?) directing traffic into the garage compared to a red haired screamer of past years.

Anonymous said...

I trust that the drunk who kicked your officer in the chest was cited for assault on an officer. If he was cited, the LJS should have published his surname, I think, but they didn't, and I wonder why.

Anonymous said...

@ 6:34:

Assault on an officer is a felony which would mean a straight trip to jail, not detox. My guess is the officer has been kicked before and had to do triplicate paperwork while the other three officers take up the slack only to have the felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor.

That's one part the citizens never see. If someone kicks or hits a cop (a felony) and are arrested and charged then the County Attorney's office will reduce it to a misdemeanor or throw it out if there is no major injury to the cop. If a cop gets kicked, he/she gets it from the bad guy and the supposed good guy.

Anonymous said...

It was a nice article but it makes it sound like downtown is only full of drunks on game day. People should drive downtown on any Friday or Saturday night and see how stupid people are acting. Then the uproar should be the fact there are only 3 or 4 cops covering the entire mess and it will take them a while to get away to help someone who really needs them.

Charity said...

It's even worse than I thought. This article just reinforced our decision to stay away from downtown on a game day. Not just the drunks, but the traffic. Hubby gets cranky enough as is. ;-)

My hat is off to the officers working downtown. They must have the patience of Job.

Anonymous said...

What happens on a really bad day when a couple of serious incidents happen at the same time in Lincoln and the police resources are stretched too thin? Chief, you know that you and LPD will be criticized when this happens, and all of the info you've been regurgitating about 1.5 officers per 1000 of population, yada, yada, yada will be long forgotten.

Will the people of Lincoln, past mayors, and council members accept responsibility? Not in this day and age-

Grundle King said...

I found it especially hilarious that the idiot who kicked the cop had bought Husker tickets, and would have got to see a helluva game if he could have exercised a little more self-control. Instead, he got to wait things out in the drunk tank, which probably did NOT have the game on TV.