Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Second wind

I've had the opportunity to work with an lot of great colleagues during my carer, one of whom was Officer John Winkler. John was a member of my unit when I was a young lieutenant commanding the department's juvenile unit. He had a terrific ability to relate to kids, and I depended on to investigate the most serious crimes against children, and to guide hundreds, perhaps thousands, of youngsters who ran afoul of the law. John left LPD in 1991 to pursue business ventures, after 21 years on the force.

John was a good-looking guy and incredibly fit. When we worked together he must have been one of Lincoln's most eligible bachelors. But I remember how star-struck he was when he met his future wife, Debbie, and how excited he was when he became a dad a few years later. During the 1980's he and I were members of the same running and cycling group that trained together. We spent a lot of hours on the trail and in the saddle. Not that I was in his league, though. Apart from his several marathons, John completed one of the early Ironman Triathlons. That's not just a triathlon, mind you, it is The Ironman: a 2.4 mile open water ocean swim, followed by a 112 mile bike race across the black lava of Oahu, followed by a full length marathon--26.2 miles ending in Honolulu.

John passed away yesterday, far to young. Those of us who knew him will miss his wit and his friendship. My heart goes out to Debbie and to John's family, and I hope they are comforted by the knowledge that he had such a positive impact on so many kids whose lives he touched, something I had the privilege to witness on many occasions. God's speed, John, as you pass one finish line, grab your second wind, and head for the next event.


Anonymous said...


Thanks for this. I am thankful for a chief who cares about the human side of what you do. We are a blessed community. Keep up the good work.


Former Deputy D said...

Rest in Piece John Winkler!

Anonymous said...

After reading this news I was in a very somber place for a moment.

For all the miracles in life here on earth the greatest mystery is the mystery of faith. John told me as a youngster that you have to believe that all things work out for good. as years pass, I often question that.
As an adult I understand this. I am not sure why those who help so many people are taken from this world. I do know of another place after this life. My understanding of that place is way beyond what a human brain can cope with, a mystery indeed.
Thank you John, for helping so many in this world.

Steve said...

I generally try to be humorous or provide some insight with my comments and, though I can find humor in many things, I don't feel it is appropriate here. My best wishes to the Winkler family.

Anonymous said...

Chief-Great description of a great guy. I'm very sorry to hear about this and extend sincere sympathy to his family. Thanks for passing the info on for those of us that knew him but are no longer in Lincoln.


Anonymous said...

Well said Chief.

John was one of those people who really made a difference in his role in family crimes. Those cases take their toll not only on the victims but, the investigators who deal with it everyday.

John seemed to handle it better than most officers could. He told me on more than once he was very proud of the work he and the other officers did on those cases.

It takes a special talent and personality to successfully investigate those complex problems. Like many areas in law enforcement, their investigators in that unit never seem to get the recognition they deserve. John was a good example of the exemplary work they did when he was at LPD and they still do on a regular basis.

He definitely fit the definition of an "Ironman" in many ways.

Rest in peace John, you left LPD and the community a better place for your work here. Your clear for Code9...


Linda said...

It was so sad to hear the news about John. He was a terrific Youth Aid officer and a pleasure to work with. My heart goes out to Deb and family. He will be missed by everyone who knew him.

Linda S.