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City of Lincoln
Mayor's Office

2007 Media Releases

May 7, 2007
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831


Mayor Coleen J. Seng today presented the Mayorís Award of Excellence for April to a team from the Lincoln Police Department: Sergeant Michael Bassett, Officers Cassandra Johnson and Megan Schreiner and former Officer Zachary Byers. The monthly award recognizes City employees who consistently provide exemplary service and work that demonstrates personal commitment to the City. The award was presented at the beginning of todayís City Council meeting.

The team was nominated by Police Captain Bob Wilhelm in the categories of productivity and customer relations for their efforts to reduce prostitution and narcotics activity in the Everett, Near South and Capitol Avenue neighborhoods. After the problems were discussed in a 2006 sergeantsí meeting, Bassett stepped forward to lead his night shift officers and the southwest team in the enforcement effort.

Schreiner, Johnson, and Byers were trained and equipped to take on the problems. Undercover officers, both male and female, worked to arrest prostitutes and their customers. Wilhelm wrote that these details are extremely dangerous and distasteful for the officers. They are placed in one-on-one situations with people who can be desperate, and they are required to think on their feet and improvise. They must conduct themselves in ways that donít expose their cover, compromise safety or jeopardize prosecutions.

In a five-month period, the team made ten arrests for prostitution, 18 arrests for soliciting prostitution and pandering and one arrest for the sale of a controlled substance. Wilhelm said the teamís efforts and hard work had a tremendous and noticeable impact on the activities in the targeted areas. Neighborhood residents commented that the street-side transactions had stopped or dramatically decreased, and one wrote a letter thanking the officers for their effort. Wilhelm said the attitude of cooperation and team work resulted in an successful detail.

Other categories in which employees can be nominated are loss prevention, safety and valor. All City employees are eligible for the Award of Excellence except for elected officials and some managers. Individuals or teams can be nominated by supervisors, peers, subordinates and the general public.

Nomination forms are available from department heads, employee bulletin boards or the Personnel Department, which oversees the awards program. All nominations are reviewed by the Mayorís Award of Excellence Committee, which includes a representative with each union and a non-union representative appointed by the Mayor. Award winners receive a $100 U.S. savings bond, a day off with pay and a plaque. Monthly winners are eligible to receive the annual award, which comes with a $500 U.S. savings bond, two days off with pay and a plaque.

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