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Lincoln Police Officer Nikki Loos has a new partner.
A partner who has her back when she works 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Who goes home with her at the end of her shift.
And who tries to get her two wary cats to play — unsuccessfully so far.
Loos is the department’s newest canine officer, and her partner is a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois named Dexter.
Loos can expect to be with her new partner around the clock, and she will see him more than she sees anyone in her own family, said Officer John Clarke, the department’s head dog handler.
Many people who initially express interest in being a canine handler ultimately are not willing to invest all that time, Clarke said.
“A lot of people look at that and say, ‘do I want to be on 24/7?’”
With the addition of Loos and Dexter, the department’s 44th police dog, Lincoln police have expanded to five canine/officer pairs covering the city.
The dogs accompany their human partners at all times, sniffing vehicles for drugs, searching buildings and tracking suspects.
“We’ve got more coverage than we ever have had before,” Clarke said.
Clarke works days with his canine partner, Beersie-Remo. Loos and Dexter cover nights along with Officer Tyler Dean and Kony, Officer Jeff Urkevich and Jake, and Officer Chris Vollmer and Brix.
In the past, Clarke said, canine officers sometimes got called in when they were off duty.
“Sometimes if they had to call us in it was 20, 30, 40 minutes later and it kind of made it hard to do what we needed to do,” he said.
Lincoln’s canine officers and their animal partners are certified at the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center in Grand Island.
Loos and Dexter completed 11 weeks of training Jan. 12 and worked their first shift together Friday.
Police dogs like Dexter typically cost $7,500 to $8,500 even before training, Clarke said. Private donors buy the animals for the department.
The dogs receive veterinary care at Yankee Hill Veterinary Hospital. When they retire, usually after eight to 10 years, their handlers typically buy them from the city for $1, Clarke said.
Loos, the department’s first female canine handler, says she looks forward to a long career with Dexter.
“I just hope it kind of leads the way for females in the future to have the confidence to go ahead and fight for a position if they are interested in it,” she said.
By Hilary Kindschuh
Grab the Imodium, folks.
If you’re being honest with the police, it sounds as if you’ve got digestive problems.
Whether you’ve got “explosive diarrhea” or just really have to go — both actual excuses given to police officers — bathroom emergencies are among the most common excuses Lincoln police hear when stopping leadfoots.
But apparently, not everyone is asked why he or she is speeding. One man sent the police chief an e-mail, upset the officer didn’t ask for an excuse.
“I find it unfair that an officer gives a person a ticket for speeding without asking the reason why they were going above the speed limit, or even having a conversation about it,” he wrote.
Chief Tom Casady blogged about the note, saying he thought his officers could come up with an interesting list of excuses they’ve heard.
We asked them to do just that, and here’s a list of their best:
1. It’s the shoes
“I once stopped a guy for going 11-16 (mph) over, and he told me he had just purchased some new steel toe boots for work, and he was speeding because he didn’t realize his boots were weighing down his gas pedal.” – Officer Joshua White, Southeast Team
2. Preempt the strike
“I know there are the standard excuses, but I once had a girl tell me she was speeding becahse she had terrible diarrhea and she was rushing home before it struck again. After looking at her face I believed her and let her go.” – Officer Jon Rennerfeldt, Center Team
3. I always do this
“One driver didn’t even try, saying ‘I always drive this speed down the street.’” – Sgt. Craig Price, Northeast Team
4. Road raged
“It was road rage, and I was trying to get away from the other vehicle.” – Sgt. Craig Price, Northeast Team
5. Doc said I could
“I stopped someone for speeding. He immediately stated he was in a hurry to get to the ‘doctor.’ I went back to my cruiser to scratch out an Official (ticket) and came back, and he told me there was someone on the telephone that wanted to speak to me. He had the phone on speaker and had his ‘doctor’ on the phone, telling me he had an appointment and he was late. He still received the Official.” – Officer Brytten Kraft, Northwest Team
6. Tell it like it is
“A general contractor was stopped in the morning for driving mroe than 20 mph over the speed limit in a construction zone, then again that afternoon by the same officer on the other side of town for going more than 20 mph over the speed limit again. So what did he say? ‘I know I shouldn’t be speeding, but I’m really in a hurry.’” – Officer Conan Schafer, Center Team
7. For a good cause
“Stopped Christmas Eve going 20 mph over the speed limit, one driver said: ‘We’re delivering food to needy people.’” – Officer Conan Schafer, Center Team
8. She’s having my baby
“I haven’t heard it a lot, but I had a very young guy tell me that his girlfriend was having a baby. (There was no one in the car with him.)” – Officer Erin Spilker, Family Crimes investigator
9. Shopping emergency
“My favorite was a few days prior to Christmas. A woman told me she was speeding because she was in a hurry to get all of her Christmas shopping done before Christmas. I had a little gift of my own for her!” – Officer Robert Brenner, Northwest Team
10. In the same ‘vein’
“Another driver said: ‘I need to give blood at the blood bank.’” – Officer Bryon Pachunka, Northwest Team