Yesterday morning, Officer John Clarke passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, following a workout at his fitness center. I first met John when he was a University of Nebraska student, taking a criminal justice class I was teaching in the late 1980's. John was a tackle on the Nebraska football team, and like every lineman who ever took one of my classes, he was a very bright and a conscientious student.
John joined LPD in 1991, while I was away at the Sheriff's Office, and I am certainly glad that he did. For over 21 years, he brought the same dedication to the police department that he displayed as a student and Division 1 athlete. For most of his career, John served as a canine handler. He and his latest partner, Remo, were quite an imposing team. You would find no Lincoln police officer more well respected by his colleagues than John Clarke. He was even-tempered, reliable, polite, compassionate, and you could depend on him to do the right thing in all circumstances. This was the man I want showing up at my own door in a personal crises. John set a tone that influenced all those who worked around him.
As tragic as his passing at such a young age, John Clarke had a tremendous influence on others, and in that respect his foreshortened life was still a full one. Few people will ever have the opportunity to have the experiences, and to make the difference in the lives of others, that John did. While we mourn with Lisa and John's family, we also celebrate his life, and the contribution he made to his community. May God grant him rest, and may his family and friends be comforted by One who lived life intensely in the service of others, as did John Clarke.