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
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
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
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
[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
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.
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
“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.
[By NILA SMITH]