Thursday, July 24, 2014
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Geriets says his “good-byes” to the city of Lincoln

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[July 24, 2014]  LINCOLN - At the Monday evening Lincoln City Council meeting, Deputy Police Chief Michael Geriets made what will probably be his last visit as a city employee.

Geriets who has been with the city 25 years, recently requested the city provide allowances for early retirement. As a result, the city sent out offers of early retirement to all employees between the ages of 50 and 55. To date, it is unknown if any other eligible employees will take advantage of the offer.

Before sitting down at the speaker’s table, Geriets introduced the guests in the gallery who were there with him. They included his mother, Bess Newhouse; step-father, Ronnie Coleman; daughter Megan and her two children, and daughter Christina with her boyfriend Brady.

To put things in perspective, Geriets first said his daughter Megan was there with her children. He said she is now 25, but she was only three months old when he signed on with the city.

Geriets then addressed the council from a prepared statement. A copy of his statement follows:

Mayor, City Council, I stand before you feeling blessed and privileged to have served the citizens of Lincoln for the past 25 years.

I am here to announce that I am going to retire from the Lincoln Police Department effective August 15th, 2014. I have served under six Police Chief’s since 1989, and I'm grateful to have served under one of my best friends, Chief Ken Greenslate.

The Lincoln Police Department has come a long way since my first day on the job. I remember we used to handwrite our reports, and if the report didn't have a coffee ring on it, Assistant Chief Tom Mauer would make sure it had one by the time he was done reviewing it. He used to say, “That report doesn't look like a police report without a coffee ring stain on it.” He could be very serious, but at times, quite the joker.

I watched as the evolution of technology changed. I remember taking crime scene photographs with Polaroid cameras. Then came the bag phones, then smaller more sophisticated cell phone technology. Then came video cameras and mobile data computers in every squad car and desktop computers replaced the old typewriters, we had in our squad room. We replaced the old wheel guns; .357 revolvers with speed loaders to semi-automatic pistols. I have seen the implementation of Tasers, allowing police to take control of resisting suspects, thereby reducing the risk of serious injury to the officer and arrestee. By doing so, we also reduced civil liability on the department by having to use less physical force to subdue an offender, which also resulted in less workman compensation claims by our officers.

I've had the privilege of working undercover narcotics for three years and attend the FBI National Academy. I have taught our 6th grade students and high school freshman through the DARE program. Teaching our youth was probably one of the most rewarding things I have done in my career, but there were many.

I have many rewards, and stories...I'd like to share this one.

I remember a situation in which a neighbor was witnessing a domestic battery in progress from his bedroom window. He called 911. When I arrived, the male suspect was soaked with sweat as if he just had the best work out of his life. Unfortunately, his workout was beating his girlfriend all because her grandmother came to the house, set her purse on his new stereo speakers and scratched them. She was bitten multiple times, beaten with his fist, and he broke a whiskey bottle over her head. She required multiple stitches. The beating had lasted hours.

You have no idea how close I came to losing my job that night. I wanted to hurt him, bad. But I didn't, I had a job to do. I called for an ambulance for the female victim and arrested the male without incident. As I was placing him in the squad car, she was being placed on a stretcher, and he yelled to her "I love you", and she replied "I love you too." He was later convicted and sentenced to prison.

Six months later I was off duty, walking through Wal-Mart I was approached by a female and her mother. She asked if I remembered her. I did not. She proceeded to tell me about the incident I just described. She looked nothing like she did the night I saw her getting into the ambulance.

She thanked me for "saving her life," then hugged me. She said she ended things with him shortly after the incident. Ladies and gentlemen, this is why we do what we do. Rewards such as this make it all worthwhile. I am not the hero here! If it weren't for a real hero, the neighbor who called police and was willing to make a stand, the outcome could have been much different. The heroes here are the citizens of this community who witness a crime and call 9*1*1.

[to top of second column]

All of you have a very different job than I. The decisions you make on this council affect everyone in the City of Lincoln. I know that economic development is a priority for the sustainability of our community. Having said that, if our crime rates increase, and crime goes unpunished, what family or business would want to move here?

We recently lost a position after an officer submitted his resignation. Due to an unexpected deficit in our budget, the decision was made not to replace that officer at this time. I understand that!

I've seen municipalities try to save money by eliminating positions through attrition.

This practice is not cost effective. When we reduce our staff patrolling the City, we reduce the services that our citizens have come to expect. I am grateful for the support that this council has shown over the years to the Lincoln Police Department. Please continue your support of our Police Department by keeping manpower at safe levels of operation.

I truly feel blessed for the opportunity I had to serve this community. I am confident that the Lincoln Police Department will continue to maintain a professional police force, by providing continued education for our officers and by holding officers accountable for their actions. As an administrator, you are only as good as the men and women who work for you. I am proud of our Department and leaving this agency is like moving away from family. I have great memories of 25 years of service. Thank you all for your past and continued support of the Lincoln Police Department and my position as Deputy Chief.

God Bless!

When Geriets had finished speaking, Police Chief Ken Greenslate presented Geriets with the city departments Medal of Merit.

He said, “It is with great pleasure that I award you, Michael L. Geriets, the Lincoln Police Department Medal of Merit.

“The Medal of Merit is based upon your 25 dedicated years of service to the Lincoln Police Department, and to the citizens, and the city of Lincoln. In those 25 years, you served the Lincoln Police Department as a patrolman, a narcotics inspector, a corporal, sergeant, and ultimately as a deputy chief. In all of these roles you have served with enthusiasm and a desire to see justice served.

“For the last four years you have served as my deputy chief. I was able to count on your honest opinion and your ability to see the different sides of a problem.

“For 24 years you have stood beside me as a friend and brother in arms as we battled against those who would do evil.

“The officers of the Lincoln Police Department and the people of Lincoln were in good hands whenever you were called upon to serve and protect.

“Finally, I thank you for bringing smiles to people’s faces, your ability to relate to anyone, anywhere, anytime, and for most of all your friendship. You will be missed, but I know you will continue to serve elsewhere. Safe travels my friend.”

Mayor Keith Snyder also offered up a “Thank-you” to Geriets for his service to the city and the people.

Also commenting was Michelle Bauer, whose husband serves on the Logan County Sheriff’s Department. She said coming from a police background she understood his level of dedication and thanked Geriets for the time and commitment he has given to the community. She ended saying, “You will be missed.”

Joni Tibbs also commented saying she had known Geriets since he was a child. She said she was certain his late father would be very proud of him.

Geriets then made the rounds shaking hands and getting a few hugs from council members. With a wave, he exited the council chambers with his family.


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