Law Enforcement

For sixteen years, from 1978 through 1995, I was a career law enforcement officer. During that time, I gained many experiences, made many friends, and observed many situations and circumstances that most people in ordinary careers do not see first hand. Overall, I learned a different perspective that most people don't have. Here are some memories of that career.

Chief of Police, Randal R. Schulze
Village of Arlington, Washington County, Nebraska
Photo takan about 1984


Career Summary

Police Patrol: Public Service, Crime Detection and Suppression, Preservation of the Peace, Traffic Enforcement.

Criminal Investigation: Investigation of Crimes against Persons or Properties and Drug Related Crimes.

Criminal Intelligence: Collection, maintenance, and dissemination of criminal intelligence information. Served as Intelligence Coordinator for the Omaha Region (LEIN Region 7,) of the State of Nebraska.

Administrative Services: Supervised administrative functions of the department, including management and development of computer systems and applications. Formulate and develop written departmental policies, prepare grant proposals, supervise projects funded by state and federal grants. Served as representative to Douglas County 911 Steering Committee.

Chief of Police: Supervision and management of small, semi-rural law enforcement agency. In addition to basic police functions, performed supervision and management of personnel, maintenance of records, development of policy, and civil defense operations.

Public Safety - 911 Communications Operator and Dispatcher: First line contact with the public for requests for emergency services including Law Enforcement, Fire, and Emergency Medical Services. Responsible for the operation of public safety radio, telephone, Teletype, and computers in a county wide 911 system and the development and implementation of operating policies and procedures used by law enforcement agencies and 911 communications agencies.

Agency Affiliations

Washington County Sheriff's Office,
Blair, Washington County, Nebraska

Kearney Police Department,
Kearney, Buffalo County, Nebraska

Gibbon Police Department,
Gibbon, Buffalo County, Nebraska

Buffalo County Sheriff's Office,
Kearney, Buffalo County, Nebraska

Shelton Police Department,
Shelton, Buffalo County, Nebraska

Hall County Department of Communications and Civil Defense,
Grand Island, Hall County, Nebraska

Wood River Police Department,
Wood River, Hall County, Nebraska

Arlington Police Department,
Arlington, Washington County, Nebraska

Valley Police Department,
Valley, Douglas County, Nebraska

Elkhorn Police Department,
Elkhorn, Douglas County, Nebraska

Lake Lotawana Police Department,
Lake Lotawana, Jackson County, Missouri

Lee's Summit Police Department,
Lee's Summit, Jackson County, Missouri


War Stories

Why Did I Become a Cop?: Sixteen Years Behind the Badge, 1978 to 1995
"How did this Rock and Roll Fanatic end up wearing a badge?!"

The New Job: Washington County Sheriff's Office, Winter 1978
The first thing I noticed was how heavy the badge felt on my shirt.

On Patrol with Bob Goodwin: Washington County Sheriff's Office, Spring 1979
"It's our job to protect the morals of our county..."

Radio Skip: Washington County Sheriff's Office, July 1979
Weather and atmospheric conditions can do strange things to radio signals.

You Don't Mess Around With Jim: Washington County Sheriff's Office, August 1979
We used to joke around the office that the saying, “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim” referred specifically to Sheriff, Jim Kelly.

Christmas: Kearney 911 and Buffalo County Sheriff's Office, December 1979
It turns out that I’d never experienced a Christmas before or since where I felt so cold and alone…

Grand Island Tornado: Kearney 911 and Gibbon Police, June 1980
As far as being a police officer goes, I was good at the job, but I was very new to this area and had very, very little experience.

Wrestling With the Animal: Wood River Police Department, Summer 1981
Welcome to Wood River!

Noise Disturbance : Hall County Department of Communications / GIEC, Fall 1981
I'd never had an officer refuse a call for service before...

Broken Leg : Wood River Police Department, February 1982
Nothing like an On-The Job Injury to make your day.

The Academy : Wood River Police Department, September - December 1982
I was so proud, and I'm still proud to this day!

First Pursuit : Wood River Police Department, October 1982
This was a good lesson learned.

Partners, Episode 1: Arlington Police Department, November 1983
“Hey! You told me you like your coffee that way!”

The Glowing Tombstone: Arlington Police Department, 1984
Clearly, this had all gotten out of hand.

Dead Cop Car: Arlington Police Department, Spring 1984
Everything would be fine until you had to put your foot to the floor, and the damned thing would die!

Small Town - Big Crime: Arlington Police Department, Summer 1984
By and large, crime was not a major issue in this sleepy little town. The sleepy little town was about to suddenly be made to wake up!

Arlington City Council: Arlington Police Department, Winter 1984
You’ve heard the term that you “were seeing red.” Now I know where this came from.

Little Big Town: Valley Police Department, 1985 through 1993
...And this was only my first two weeks!

United States Highway 275: Valley Police Department, 1985 through 1993
All of this was coming off United States Highway 275 and running through our community!

Courts, Judges, Lawyers, and Hearings: Valley Police Department, 1985 through 1993
"Yes. You will see me in Court!"

Feds: Arlington Police Department, March 1984 and Valley Police Department, February 1986 and November 1990
“Hello. We’re from the Government. We’re here to help…”

One of the Times I Almost Bought It: Valley Police Department, August 1987
Good Thinking. It probably saved your life!

Terry Stop : Valley Police Department, Spring 1988
While there were no specific traffic offenses, this was suspicious to me for the following reasons...

Spotlight on the Valley Police Department: Valley Police Department, October 1988
Magazine Article About the Valley Police Department.

Coffee Grounds: Valley Police Department May 1988 or 1989
One of my co-workers asked me what had been the most horrific incident I had been involved in as a police officer.
* * WARNING * * Contains descriptions of graphic violence.

The Edge of the Known Universe: Valley Police Department, Summer1988
In 1988, the Omaha City Limits at Maple Street were more or less at about 114th Street.

Beaver Patrol: Valley Police Department, Fall 1988
Not on company time and / or furniture, and that included police cars.

Another Bar Fight: Valley Police Department, 1989
"I think we're going to need more help!"

Parking in the Park: Valley Police Department August 1989
The thing that will piss off a citizen more than anything else, is to write them a parking ticket.

Incident on the Union Pacific: Valley Police Department Fall 1989
Lucky for these guys that none of them were injured, but their car was pretty messed up!

Officer Twitchy: Valley Police Department May 1990
Some people just seem to have a knack for pissing other people off…

Bachlor Party in a U-Haul: Valley Police Department Spring 1990
"Officer Shelton, Do you see anything wrong here?"

Death Valley Days: Valley Police Department Summer 1990
It was difficult not to refer the Town Celebration as Death Valley Days…

Strange Pursuit: Valley Police Department, September 1990
Any law enforcement officer will tell you that ALL high speed vehicle pursuits are dangerous. In addition to being dangerous, this case got real strange.

"Kill da Wabbit": Valley Police Department, October 1990
Poaching is a very serious issue in Nebraska, and the Game and Parks commission, as well as many other law enforcement agencies take it very seriously.

Full Moon Over Valley: Valley Police Department, Spring 1991
You never know what you're going to come across...

More Fun With Parking Tickets: Valley Police Department, January 1992
Personally, I was not a real hard case when it came to parking violations…

Raid!: Valley Police Department, May 1992
So the Search Warrant wasn't a total bust.

Stupid Criminals : Valley Police Department, May 1992
Over time, I came to the conclusion that many criminals committed crimes because they were too stupid to hold a real job…

"To Vest or Not to Vest": Valley Police Department, August 1992
While putting on my uniform, I paused to consider the Kevlar, bullet proof vest.

Cops, Computers, and a New Career: Valley Police Department and Beyond. 1995 to Today
It took me awhile to transition from Police Officer to Civilian, but I still observe the world around me with the eyes of a cop.
(Contrubution by Frank Vondra, Bellvue PD, Retired)


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