City of Lincoln
2007 Media Releases
Mayor Chris Beutler today presented the Mayor's Award of Excellence for July to a team from the Lincoln Police Department: Sergeants Jim Breen and Ken Koziol. 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 today’s City Council meeting.
Breen has been with the City since 1971, and Koziol has been employed since 1978. They were nominated by Assistant Police Chief Jim Peschong in the category of productivity for their hard work and tenacity in the ten-year investigation into the shooting deaths of Duane Johnson and Harold Fowler.
The investigation into the double homicide started in June 1997 when the bodies of Fowler and Johnson were discovered at a residence on South 9th Street. The joint investigation involved the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI and the Lincoln Police Department. Over the next several years, Breen and Koziol explored numerous leads in the execution-style murders, but those leads continued to result in dead-ends. LPD submitted almost 700 investigative reports on the case.
A break came in July 2005 when information was obtained about an individual who was present during the murders. The murders were thought to be the result of a drug deal gone bad. The detectives methodically built a case against the suspect over the next year. They traveled to several states to interview witnesses, and subsequently obtained a DNA sample from the suspect. A match was confirmed with evidence obtained from the crime scene.
In June 2006, a federal grand jury indicted Jeffrey Hoover for the murders. He was tried in Federal Court in July 2007 and found guilty of two counts of murder. Hoover will be sentenced later this month and faces mandatory life in prison.
Assistant Chief Peschong writes, "There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that if it wasn't for the tenacity of Detectives Jim Breen and Ken Koziol, these two murders may not be solved today. This is just an absolutely outstanding job of investigative work." Peschong said the challenging case almost became a full-time job for the detectives for a year, but they never gave up, and they were committed to making the case against the suspect as air tight as they could.
Other categories in which employees can be nominated are loss prevention, safety, customer relations 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 Mayor's 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.