Friday, November 4, 2011

Good things in medium-sized places

A few months ago, I blogged about good things in small places: what I admired and learned from the tiny little police department in Waverly, Virginia.  Yesterday and today, something similar is going on here in Lincoln.  Four members of the San Diego County Sheriff's Office are here in Lincoln for a site visit: Commander Beyers, Captain Donahue, Deputy Blackwell, and Dr. Noah Fritz, the crime analysis manager.

Noah and I became acquainted more than a decade ago, when he managed the Crime Mapping and Analysis Program for the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center.  He went on to be the president of the International Association of Crime Analysts for several years, earn a doctorate, teach at the collegiate level,and conduct original criminal justice research--all after a good run at the head of the Tempe, AZ crime analysis unit, where he mentored a rather incredible cohort of young people who are now some the leaders in this field from coast to coast.

Most recently, Dr. Fritz has returned to his roots: managing a large crime analysis operation in an agency of nearly 4,000 employees providing law enforcement services in the fourth largest county in the United States.  He and a his colleagues are visiting Lincoln to learn about our unique approach to police information resources and technology, which begins with the fundamental question "What would be helpful to our street officers, investigators, and detectives?"  It has been an honor to host their visit, and just as I was impressed by Chief Kevin Sands' operation in Waverly, I think the staff from San Diego has seen some very interesting and thought-provoking stuff here in Lincoln, despite the fact that we are about one tenth their size.

As previously noted, Lincoln seems to be in a sweet spot: large enough to have some significant resources, yet small enough to actually implement some clever and innovative ideas.  Size is not always an advantage, and organizational momentum exerts its own gravity. It would be hard to turn an aircraft carrier around in Salt Creek.


Anonymous said...

You're selling yourself short.

Your leadership at the helm of LPD has also been a driving force.

Anonymous said...

Too bad a few Lincoln officers couldn't go to San Diego for this, instead of the other way around!

Pastor Fuller said...

As always, nice blogs. Very informational, humorous and down to earth. You are a good man, Tom! Lincoln is fortunate to have you.

Tom Casady said...


Thanks, but it started before I arrived, and will persist after I'm gone. I may have made some contribution, but the main thing I've done is just keep the cart headed down the path.


Assuming you're referring the what a nice city San Diego is, I heartily agree. The delegation arrived here on Wednesday afternoon when it was raining snowballs--a meteorological event I don't imagine you are likely to experience in San Diego.

Thanks Pastor, that's a mighty fine compliment coming from someone who inspires others professionally!

Steve said...

I experienced a similar snowfall in San Diego back in about '71. It actually lasted and stayed around a little longer. It was one of the first (or few) times it ever snowed in Death Valley that year. We had 2-3 inches of snow on my ship at the naval base. You think people drive poorly here at the first snow fall of the year? You should have seen it out there. The city nearly came to a standstill.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if this recent home invasion robbery would be of the sort you addressed in this post.

njfritz said...

Tom, thanks for your hospitality, your openness, and your committment to showing us what good policing in a democracy can be. It is a good mix of community policing, problem oriented policing, and the use of good analysis and information management - clearly empowering all your employees. Providing access to every staff member throughout the entire department is not only innovative, it is revolutionary in police agencies today. I sincerely hope your vision and success has sweeping impact on our profession. Thank you and your agency for your exemplary work.

Dr. Noah J. Fritz
Crime Analysis Manager
San Diego Sheriff's Department

Anonymous said...

Tom-I was up there last week and noticed Lincoln is installing crosswalk countdown indicators for pedestrian safety while Omaha is installing "gunfire locators" to fascillitate faster police responses to gunfire.

50 miles of I-80 is apparently worlds apart.


Anonymous said...


I saw that too. I assume there is some fed grant money to be had there, plus when voters clamor that "something must be done", this comes into play:

1. "Something" must be done.
2. This is "something".
3. Therefore, this must be done.