Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Thanks, Jim

One of the most well-known Lincoln police officers, Capt. Jim Thoms, retired last week after 37 years on the force. He was often the person interviewed at the scene and quoted by reporters. Jim spent 31 of his 37 years as a supervisor at the rank of sergeant and captain, so a large percentage of the officers on the department worked for him at one time or another. At his reception on Friday, I mentioned that there are 177 Lincoln police officers who weren’t even born on the day he first pinned on the badge.

Jim was a motor officer when I joined LPD. He was promoted early, and supervised many squads of street officers for a good long time. In the mid-1990’s I had the opportunity to promote him to the rank of captain, where he has been in charge of field operations during his shift as one of our duty commanders. He has also coordinated all our emergency preparedness activities, a job that took on new importance in the past decade.

I've admired the enjoyment he takes his work. Jim Thoms bleeds LPD blue: he loves this place, he enjoys his coworkers, he relishes the opportunity to solve a problem, help someone out, and make a difference. On his last day, he was having as much fun as on his first. I have enjoyed working with him tremendously. Jim Thoms always practiced the Golden Rule policing that I so frequently talk to new police recruits about. He has modeled it for scores of officers who have been fortunate to work for him.

Jim likes to pretend that he walked five miles to school everyday, uphill in both directions, after milking the cows, slopping the hogs, cleaning out the chicken coop, and pitching 60 bales of hay. He also likes to pretend that he is old-school, and eschews technology. It doesn’t work, but it’s a funny shtick. I came to work one day a couple years ago, and he was wearing this memory stick on a lanyard around his neck. He signed it and gave it to me as a memento last week.

Thanks, Jim, for all you have done for the department, your fellow officers, and the citizens of Lincoln. You are a charming man. Enjoy your retirement!


Dave said...

I don't think I ever met the man, but I did hear his final sign-off, and it gave me goosebumps.

He has to be in that "old cop" group that I grew up knowning, the likes of Callahan, Mike Eggar (sp?), Gary Hoffman (whom I just saw a few weeks ago), McEntarfer and even Marty Ortiz.

They don't make cops like those guys anymore.

Anonymous said...

Kind of off topic, yet on topics . . . Chief, I have a few suggestions on topics for the blog: 1) What is the hiring process really like? What things get you bounced? What things really help get you hired? 2) Private investigators. What are your thoughts on this industry?

Anonymous said...

Have you plugged that memory stick in? Perhaps he left you a message?

Anonymous said...

I have had the pleausre of knowing Jim for a very long time, much longer than his 37 years as a police officer in the City of Lincoln. Jim exemplifies the type of individual one would want as a co-worker or friend. He is an example of the qualities (family, work ethic, moral) possessed by those who were born in the midwest & were raised & taught important life values by caring parents; a quality that, even today, is sought after by knowledgeable employers in various other locations of the Country. If one looks up the words loyalty, honesty & fairness in the dictionary, one would expect to find a picture of Jim Thoms beside those words.

Thank-you Jim Thoms for 37 years of outstanding service to the people of the City of Lincoln, Nebraska.

Tom Casady said...

9:57 -

I can't get the darn thing into my USB port, no matter how hard I pound on it with my portable hard drive.

Anonymous said...

There are a handful of supervisors who know what it means to really "have their officers' backs". Jim Thoms is one of those. He will be greatly missed in the LPD family. I worked for him for a lot of years, and always appreciated his humor and his committment to the job. He is truly one of the good guys.

DD said...

Jim had many fine qualities but, the one that always impressed me
was his ability to speak with those citizens that are less than
cooperative and more than rude.
He spoke plainly, to the point and
never made a threat that he was not willing to carry out. He spoke to and not at people and that is a rare quality not only in law enforcement but, anywhere.

251 will be missed and the last
cop that was left in his 1973 class. But, then again Jim was always in a class by himself.

Anonymous said...

Chief-Congratulations to Jim and good wishes for a great retirement.

I have some awesome eight-tracks, beta format, and VHS tapes that he can enjoy during retirement if his computer has the proper hardware.

The floppy-on-a-lanyard is great. Enjoy the photo I sent via your email this morning.


Anonymous said...

You might need something like this magical device to unlock the secrets contained in that ancient and mysterious artifact. I think they used something similar in The Mummy on that book thing.

ARRRRG!!!! said...

I have the same problem when I try to play my favorite music.

Steve said...


I think you can still buy a floppy disk adaptor that will plug into your USB.

At least it wasn't one of the old floppies the size of a 45 rpm record (I know you remember those). As much as I hate to admit it, my computer still has a floppy drive if you'd like me to copy yours to a CD or flash drive.

Atticus said...

Capt Thoms was my first supervisor after I completed the academy and FTO program. My first 3 or 4 months, I was assigned to fill an empty spot until I got my first permanent assignment. That spot was walking a beat downtown. Capt Thoms was the day shift supervisor and he was very helpful in making me feel at home. It was basically me (the new guy), and a bunch of dinosaurs. Capt Thoms took care of me and essentially set the bar by which I would judge my later supervisors. Capt Thoms has always used common sense to guide his decisions and was very supportive of the officer on the street. His leadership will be missed. Good Luck in your retirement Captain!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous 9:50, I have always wondered what the hiring process is really like and what things you can do in preparation of applying. What things look good on your application, etc. I think this would be a good topic for your blog.

Anonymous said...

January 21, 2010 2:00 AM


Anonymous said...

I had the pleasure of working for Capt. Thoms when he was a sergeant during my stint on the NE Team, day shift, circa 1993ish. He was a man that people wanted to work for because they respected him and believed in him. He treated everyone equally and never seemed to have a "bad day." He was the epitome of hard work, honesty, and perserverance and everyone knew he'd make a great captain when his promotion was announced.

After I left the department I ran into him on occassion through my new line of work, and he always had time to speak to me and ask how I was doing. The true measure of his character came when I was hospitalized for 10 days back in January '07. He made it a point to personally check in with me at the hospital, to see how I was doing, and to let me know he was there if I needed anything. He had no obligation to do this, other than his genuine care and concern for those around him. As a supervisor myself, I try to engender all the qualities Capt. Thoms espoused as a leader - both personally and professionally. Hats off to you, sir, and I hope retirement is a wonderful gift for which you've worked so hard for and deserve. Take care and stay safe!!