Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Tidings to all . . .

What a wonderful time of year, for all to take the opportunity to spend time with family and friends.  This may require travel, time away from work and allot of pre-planning, but it is always worth the effort.

Whether in person, by telephone or via Face Time or Skype, that personal contact, the exchange of greetings and well wishes are an opportunity to re-connect and value truly special personal connections.  I certainly hope all get to do this.

As to the season, regardless of your belief system it is amazing to me that every culture at some level celebrates this time of year.  If you study this you will see that winter, has always been a time of re-birth.  A time to rejuvenate and re-new.  Again, if we can all take that time to do so I feel we will benefit greatly.  Good luck to you in this season.

As an aside to renewal  . . .
As we reach this time we look back on the year as a whole.  We determine what we have or have not accomplished and what we might pursue in the coming year.  From a Police perspective I think the end result will show a level or dropping crime rate in most serious offenses.  This is good news for all and I would credit the fine work of our Officers as well as an involved and engaged public.  I've said this numerous times that we, the Police cannot do this without you the Public.  Your interest, involvement and input is always appreciated and of great   value.

If the direction and management of social interactions, which includes behaviors we deem to be criminal were left up only to one segment, we could never be successful.  Much like the " Dutch Boy and the dyke", we'd be very hard pressed to keep the flood back.  With you being the group who reports and provides information you are a key to our success.  By playing your roles we all can be safer and happier.

I sometimes laugh to myself about "society" and what that really means.  If by banding together we are meant to live better, more productive and safer lives I wonder how successful we really are.  If you discount our personal experiences and rely only on news reports I think we sometimes would move back to a cave.  This does not mean I'm an advocate for a recluse mentality, rather I always wonder how we might make this better.  How we can improve the human condition to the point where we can all live happy and productive lives in safety and security.

I find the idioms of the past which seem so easy are so true.  The "Golden Rule";  the quote that "those who fail to study and learn from history are destined to repeat it" all come to mind.  I do not want you to think I am fatalistic or have a negative view of the world nor am I pessimistic of our future.  Rather I'm confident and excited for all of the possibilities the future holds.  This is what enthuses me about the season.  The potential for something better, something more inclusive with more understanding and compassion.  Yes that is what this season means to me. The grand opportunity to do "better."  For everything I did not get done, did not do well or even screwed up, I get to try again.  To be a better husband, father, grandfather and member of my community.  To be a better person.  Now that is a sense of renewal. I don't think it gets better than that.

Youth is wasted on the young and experience and memory on the old.  I hope this is not and never true.  Look, listen and learn, may we all take this to heart.

To wrap up, I hope that this holiday season brings that which not only you desire, but that you need to have a wonderful season and a brilliant 2014.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


The Holiday season is upon us. . . . .

In the spirit of the season I hope this finds all healthy and preparing to visit friends and family for the holiday; overeat as I will, and, watch a little "football."  If you are traveling over the holiday, be careful and safe, prepared for quick changes in weather.  I also encourage everyone to take their time, planning on leaving early and giving yourselves time to travel safely.  I always worry about the day travelers such as myself and my wife who travel a good number of miles all in one day there and back.  These can be long days and you put a little turkey in any of us and a nap always looks better than a drive.  Just make every effort to be safe.

I hate to tell you I told you so, but . . . .

A while back in a previous post I had mentioned that as the weather changes, we see an increase in thefts from vehicles and properties.  Well we have.  Any thing you as a member of the public can do to help us help you to protect your property is always appreciated.  It is much easier to work in preventing crime than it has ever been to investigate and arrest for criminal activity.

You are our extra sets of eyes and ears, you know who lives or has reason to be in your neighborhoods and you also know when someone is a stranger.  By protecting your property and calling us when you have a concern, we can work together to keep Kearney safe.

A difficult couple of weeks . . . 

You will seldom hear me complain about life in Kearney and today is no different.  We are blessed and need to keep that foremost in our minds.  I must tell you though, these last three weeks have been difficult on staff.  This time of year often brings tragic events and most are aware that this is the case here in Kearney.  Doing what we do as police officers, we see many things, some of which are really horrible.  This takes a toll on the officers, one that most people do not understand or realize.  

Many times, the calls for service are somewhat mundane but when we face a tragedy we do not always have a means of just putting it someplace and not thinking about it.  This is true for anyone in emergency services, whether it is law enforcement, EMS, fire or our communications officers.  It is equally true that many tragedies occur at this time of year, or seem somehow more tragic because of the date.  

The public is often blissfully unaware of all of the tragedy of the season and may find it difficult to grasp how or why these things happen.  We would ask that if you have the opportunity to help another at this time of year, regardless of how that help is provided, do so.  You may well prevent something horrible in someone else's life.

I personally would ask that if you have a chance to interact with one of the Officer's you take the time to say hello and wish them the best of the holiday season.

The cycle continues . . . .

We have been in the process of creating a hiring list for the department.  It is a bit of a drawn out process and I won't go through it all here but suffice it to say in take some time.  We have had initial testing and interviews and have narrowed the field down based upon those criteria.  We will proceed with two further sets of interviews to determine suitability for hire.  We should have an established list by just after the first of the year.

We are also promoting a Sergeant, which is a separate process.  Again, we have a fine list of interested officers all from within the department.  This is a challenging and competitive process.  This will begin just after the first of December.

Last but not least, something you probably did not know . . .

A great deal of what we do as Police is to gather information, and provide documentation for not only our activities but for others as well.  Today I got a letter from an attorney's office that proceeds the potential for a civil law suit between their client and another party.  The letter warned us that they would be seeking information, reports and all manner of correspondence on a specific matter.  Well, thanks for the heads up.  This is not unusual and the requirements for the department to maintain records and such are clearly written in statute.  I guess I just like the warning when I get one.

On a lighter note, I also got a letter from a prosecuting attorney from Texas.  One of our officers was recently subpoenaed to testify in a criminal trial in Texas.  The prosecutor was effusive in his praise and thanks for the work of the Officer and the cooperation of the department.  That is always nice to hear.

What I'm saying is that at the end of the day, our success is built upon the collection and sharing of information, (lawfully), and working together and in concert with other agencies to identify and apprehend criminals.  This is allot like working together with the public to prevent crime.  Our history and demonstrated ability to work collaboratively has been a boon to the department and the community.  To that end, we have recently begun using an information exchange system, on-line, that links several departments or agencies in the south central Nebraska area and allows us to share information.  It makes it very easy to make each other more aware of what is going on in each of our communities.  We see this as a real positive and potentially can improve and enhance our service to the area.  

Well let's call that a wrap.  I would again wish everyone a very happy thanksgiving and we'll talk again in December.

Friday, November 8, 2013

It has been awhile, sorry . . . .

Well I do apologize as I am not certain where the time went over the last month.  Lots of activities with my family and I just got side tracked.  I want to get to this as needed or every two weeks, but sometimes, life gets in the way.

Over the last 30 days, the Officer's have been busy and have done some really good work.  A long term investigation culminated in the arrest of two people and I believe gave a neighborhood back a sense of comfort.

Long term investigations can really frustrate the public.  It always seems to take too long, be too complicated and for most of the people it seems too obvious that wrongdoing is going on.  Well sometimes, we agree.  The reality is that to make a criminal case or address a criminal issue, requires evidence.  Without being clever, common sense does not necessarily constitute evidence of a crime.  Physical, circumstantial, testimonial types of evidence take time to locate, verify and explain for purposes of prosecution.  Frankly unless a crime is committed in front of an officer, and sometimes even if this occurs, we will have to produce probable cause in order to obtain a warrant for the arrest of someone.

In the case of the neighborhood here we could not have been more pleased or thankful for their cooperation and patience.  We too have frustrations but do want them to know that we appreciate all they have done to support us and our investigations.

We also recently dealt with a student at Kearney High School which has raised a good deal of public concern.  An Officer was forced to use force to subdue this young person and it is my impression that people question this situation.  I cannot comment specifically on this case as this needs to continue through the appropriate systems.  Suffice it to say that it is always unfortunate to have a contact end up with force being required and yet is more often necessary than people realize.  Behaviors are not always mere verbal exchanges but even with people in this age group, it can result in physical confrontations.  Officers are allowed to use that force necessary to effect an arrest and to protect themselves and others.  Our hope is that the help needed in these situations is obtained for the people in need.

In a previous post I mentioned an initiative to work on bike, pedestrian and skateboarder safety.  Jan Rochford from here in Kearney was and is a driving force behind this effort and is looking for other who might want to help in this effort.  The effort will continue in the spring and we will work to develop programs and the effort in full to deal with safety for these groups.  If you are interested in helping, you can contact Jan.

If you check the City of Kearney website you'll notice many things in the Police Department's area.  One of these is we try to do a topical monthly "TRAFFIC TIP".  This month's tip is in regards to being prepared as a vehicle operator, now that frost and ice are a greater possibility.  We continue to urge people to clean their vehicle windows thoroughly before driving when covered with snow/frost or ice.  Not just that small area on a windshield but all windows, completely.  Failing to do so creates real danger for the vehicle operator and others.  Take the time to do this for yourself and others.  Also, I would pass on here that starting your vehicle and letting it idle while the defroster does the work is not a good idea.  First, you're wasting fuel but you also leave yourself open to someone driving off in your vehicle.  A decision that, if it happens to you will not only be embarrassing but could easily be expensive.  Well that's enough of me sounding like your parent, but seriously please keep this in mind.

As we approach the holiday shopping season we would also again encourage you to lock your vehicles.  I mentioned this in a post some time ago, but sadly I have been proven right.  This time of year we have people who tend to steal from unlocked vehicles and we all leave way too many valuable items in our cars.  This problem just gets magnified when we begin to shop for holiday gifts.  If you are going to be shopping, put your purchases in a secure area of the vehicle such as your trunk.  If that is not possible, make certain the items are stored and covered and that the vehicle is locked.  None of us have enough money to buy presents twice.

Well for now, that seems like plenty.  As always if you want to start a dialogue about a topic I've mentioned or something your are interested in, simply sign up for the blog and add a comment.  Until next time, be safe and have a great holiday season.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fall Is Here and the football is good . . . .

Good Day to All:

Fall and all those colors are arriving and I do so enjoy this time of year.  I am a flat lander and I need the four seasons to keep me on my best cycle.  If we get too much of one season, I'm always out of sorts.  Hopefully we can hold off the real "wintry" weather for a bit so that we can all enjoy what we are having now.

Just so you know . . . .
You might notice that the size of the text is a bit bigger.  Well I had a friend comment that first of all, they "hate" reading on a computer.  When I asked why, the response was, "the type is always too small, just like on your blog."  And the term "blog" was emphasized in a kind of sarcastic way.  Well I have taken care of that with a slight size adjustment in the text.  So there and to my friend, hope you are happy and quit whining.

Safety . . . .

I broached this in the last post and wanted to follow up with just a few more comments or observations.

I'd mentioned that a member of the community had called and expressed her concern for the safety of bicyclists, pedestrians/runners and others who were traveling in those dusk hours.  Her concerns are valid and we met yesterday to discuss this further.  We had people from Good Samaritan Hospital, Kearney Park and Rec; Kearney Chamber of Commerce; Kearney Public Schools and a representative from the Traveler's Protective Association.  We were brainstorming to develop ideas for a community program on this issue.  To date, we have not had a huge number of accidents and I hope this trend continues.  We do have "near miss" incidents and common sense tells us that the potential for a tragedy is there.  If you agree that we as a community can and should develop a long term response to this, please contact me.  You can reach me at the office at 308 233-5265 or via email at  You might even want to sign up here for us to create a dialogue on this issue.  The more the merrier.  If I get permission from the core group to mention them by name, I will in a future post and perhaps you can contact them to get involved.

Neighborhood Associations . . . . 

I also mentioned in the last post about neighborhoods.  I am always an advocate for neighbors knowing neighbors.  It is not as easy as it might have been at one time, but it is still very important.  It is important to you, your quality of life and your sense of security and well being.

We have several identified neighborhood associations that cover smaller geographic areas in Kearney.  Most take their names from where they are: East College is as you might guess, just east of UNK.  Pioneer is in and around the Pioneer Park and so on.  We also have them in the Plaza neighborhood, the Kearney neighborhood which is really in the southeast part of Kearney.  We also provide information on activities to the Centennial Neighborhood Association and the Kearney Housing Authority.  These groups are more or less informal but act as a point of contact and unity in those areas.  Having an association makes it much easier to address concerns or questions coming from a specific area and better and easier for everyone in getting information back out as well.  If you want to see the monthly activities for these areas, go to the City of Kearney web site at and go to the Police page.  You'll see a link for activity reports and you can peruse them there.

On that note, we need more associations.  The far reaches of the community to the north both east and west, do not have these identified geographic groups and other areas of the city could use them as well.  This is not for just police or law enforcement purposes.  I know that the other City staff are also more than happy to work with these groups and the concerns of a neighborhood can vary greatly.  Whether its speeding and parking or zoning and development, the neighborhood associations can be a huge benefit to our community and you and your neighbors.  If you are interested, contact me and we'll work to help you get started.

Myself, the City Manager, the Code Enforcement officer and the Assistant City Manager met with the Pioneer Neighborhood Association just a little over a week ago.  The topics involved parking, speeding but really focused on zoning issues and the development of or control of the numerous apartments and the associated issues.  We had a great conversation and it is always good to see old friends.  I know the end result of that meeting will be a continuing effort to address the concerns and improve the overall area.

As always, take the time to comment or sign up so that we can stay connected, involved and engaged.  I always want to hear from you on the topics of the day and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Well on that note, I think I'll end this effort for the time being.  May all of you have a terrific weekend and enjoy the time with family and friend.

GO HUSKERS!,  GO LOPERS!,  Aw heck, go everybody and do well!

Dan Lynch

Friday, September 27, 2013

September 27th, 2013

Good Day . . . 

Well I've given this effort about two weeks to percolate and we've had quite a few page views so I know people are at least checking.  That is good.  I don't know that I expected a great deal of comment after the initial post but as we go along, I hope it will pickup.

The week of the flood.  I think that's what I'll take from this last week.  I admit it is quite impressive when you see the volume of water in the Platte.  Today is to be the crest period and it certainly is full.  If crossing at our south city limits, you will see some low land flooding to both the north as well as to the south east.  Nothing of consequence at this point but noticeable. Emergency Management and others have been monitoring the river levels over the past week and I applaud the Emergency Manager for keeping the public so well informed.  We can tell by the volume of traffic on the Platte River Bridge that this is something people are very interested in.

Think Fall, Think Safety . . . 

I was contacted recently by a citizen of the community who wants to work to address a real concern for many of us.  She noted that so few people wear anything reflective or can easily seen while riding bikes, skateboards or even as pedestrians in the evening and nighttime hours.  She stated that she and many of her friends had noticed and commented on this recently.  I have to agree.  People are a bit lazy in this area.

Code addresses equipment required on bicycles for night time riding.  City Code Sections 8-312 and 8-313 both discuss the needed equipment or manner of operation.  All bikes need a headlight on the front that emits a white light, visible from at least 500 feet and  a red reflector on the rear which shall be visible on a clear night from all distances between one hundred (100) feet and six hundred (600) feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of headlights on a motor vehicle. 
8-313 states that:
 "A.   Any person who operates a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.
B.   Any person who rides a bicycle upon a roadway shall not ride more than single file except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.
C.   Whenever a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bicycle riders shall use such path and shall not use such roadway."

These are simply practical safety measures that everyone riding a bicycle should use.  Other good ideas include brightly colored clothing, possibly with reflective material.  There are no requirements in Code regarding pedestrians, but all due caution should be taken.  We are a healthy and active community and we have a good number of people participating in these activities.  Everyone could take the time to make certain they are in compliance with the Code for riding a bike and use common sense if you are "boarding" or walking/jogging.

We have a great number of trails in the community which can be used for a variety of these types of activities and we advocate their use whenever possible.  We'll continue to look at this topic as time goes on.

See, that is the engagement that I see here in Kearney.  People have a question, a concern and they get involved, and work for a solution.  Cool Beans!  Maybe you have an issue or concern, bring it up, let's see what we can get done.


We have several categories of calls for service.  When you call the communications center, they assign a call type and dispatch the appropriate type of unit.  One area of call types that always amazes me are those of a "Suspicious" nature.  We have several mores specific categories; Suspicious Subject; Suspicious Vehicle; Suspicious Occurrence.  These allow us to track incidents specifically.  What is amazing is the numbers of calls we get from the public in these areas.

Peers are also impressed based on our numbers and the population of the community.  As an example in 2012 we had 413 "Suspicious Activity" calls for service.  This is a pretty substantial number of calls and it shows us that people are paying attention.  They are taking the time to call us when they observe something or someone that raises their suspicions.  We really appreciate that.

We are not going to be everywhere and frankly you know your neighborhoods better than we ever could.  If you see something that creates a concern, please call us.  We try to respond as quickly as possible to investigate and often times there is a logical explanation for what is reported, but we don't know unless we are called or see something ourselves.  Your engagement is what helps keep all of our neighborhoods safe.

Well again, I think I leave it there for now.  Please, comment or ask a question.

Dan Lynch
Chief of Police
Kearney Police Department

Saturday, September 14, 2013


LET'S BEGIN . . . 

I have started this effort numerous times.  Each time I hesitated as I do not want this to be a one sided conversation.  I may not have enough to say to keep all of you interested, but I will certainly try to respond if given a question or a comment for discussion.

Several of my peers do this, as a means of communications and dialogue.  Their reviews as to the value of this are mixed but most see it as an opportunity to engage their communities.  A blog  provides opportunities for people to ask questions or generate ideas.  Like myself, they believe that an open and two way dialogue with the people they serve can only make the department and the community better.  

How does this "blog" thing work anyway?  Well I think of this as a kind of cumbersome editorial page in the paper.  A page you can write into and comment on as you see the need.  You will need to "subscribe" to comment but I think you have some latitude in how you are viewed by others when you post.  

Generally my goal will be to address topics on a "fairly" regular basis and hope I find something that generates either questions or comments or both.  There must be some level of rules so I ask that anyone who subscribes and wants to comment, be tactful and kind, particularly when replying to a comment from another person's comments.   We just have to keep this appropriate.  If you go on a rant and don't see your post, you can always contact me in a more direct manner to discuss your concern.  

Speaking of which, this might be a good time to mention that I am certain there will be issues that people share that we as a department should address.  I would tell each of you that if you have a need for police service, call us at (308) 237-2104 or if it is an emergency dial 911.  You can also use the City of Kearney "Access Kearney" web reporting system.  Just go to the City of Kearney web sight, and you'll see a link on the left hand side.  This is a great place to report a concern that may not rise to the level of a police response or may be more appropriately dealt with as a nuisance or code violation.  This has done a really good job for all of us over the past couple of years. 


Kearney is a wonderful community.  We are well thought of in this part of the country and are considered progressive.  We have a beautiful community to look at and I think we all take great pride in how we present ourselves to visitors and others who come here.  That is why I think the two fires in the restrooms at Pioneer Park have been so troubling for us this year. 

After the first incident many hoped it was an isolated event.  We were wrong.  Even with neighbors and us keeping an extra eye on the area, it happened again.  These types of incidents often fit a pattern as to the age of the person who does this, their gender, where they live and other factors.  We explored some of this prior to the second fire, but did not come up with a viable suspect at that time.  I am pleased to say that we have identified the party we feel is responsible.

For someone to attack such a beautiful part of the community shocks our senses.  For no reason is this something that people can understand.  Realize however that public and government facilities and structures are the most frequent targets of this type of crime.  In this instance, we know who is responsible and they fit the most common description; 10 to 18 years of age, male, with little supervision.  They also live in close proximity to the park.  It is our hope that with time, sufficient evidence will become available to address this youths issues. Without intervention, this will continue and escalate.  

I have been gone this last week, to a conference just outside of Chicago.  I am a member of the Executive Board of this group which deals with criminal intelligence and is part of a nationwide system of support and assistance to law enforcement agencies in the form of information, equipment and technical support.  It has always pleased me to know that "problems" are the same where ever you go, regardless of the community.  The numbers change but the problems remain the same.  This is always a great opportunity to listen and learn from my collegues to glean new ideas or techniques and to reaffirm what a great agency and great officers we have.

Well for now, I think I'll end this here.  I do hope we can create a dialogue and work together to address concerns and issues.  Have a great weekend.