Mayor Chris Beutler today will present the Mayor's Award of Excellence for August to Police Officer Robert Hurley, who has been with the Lincoln Police Department (LPD) since 1991.
The award will be presented at 3 p.m. at the beginning of the City Council meeting at the County-City Building, 555 S. 10th Street. The monthly award recognizes City employees who consistently provide exemplary service and work that demonstrates personal commitment to the City.
Hurley was nominated in the category of productivity by Sergeants Ken Koziol and Mike Ripley for his work on several major cases. As a veteran criminal investigator, Hurley follows up on major cases and monitors and tracks terrorism. He also specializes in the examination of cellular phones. In January, Hurley was one of the first investigators to respond to the scene of a homicide. The victim had multiple gunshot wounds, and others at the scene were uncooperative, refusing to identify the victim or the party responsible.
As Hurley made an initial assessment of the victim, he found a cell phone and quickly analyzed the contents. The contents identified the victim and included incriminating texts with the initials of a suspect. Hurley was aware of an attempt to apprehend an individual with the same initials who was believed to be carrying a handgun. He quickly provided this information to other officers, who were able to arrest the suspect within hours of the homicide. A significant amount of cash was recovered during the arrest but the gun was not found.
As the case manager for the continuing investigation, Hurley took a very organized and thorough approach in building a case against the suspect. Three additional people were arrested and charged in related crimes. As Hurley continued his efforts to recover the murder weapon, he obtained another search warrant for the site of the arrest. He also worked with other investigators to search an area where a person had been seen running near the crime scene. The gun was discovered under a shed near that area.
During the course of this investigation, Hurley wrote five search warrants, served 46 subpoenas, searched and downloaded seven cell phones, and contacted several cell phone companies to ask them to save records for eight phones. The nominators wrote, "That is an incredible amount of work and is indicative (of) how complicated and time consuming it is in gathering information with all the technical advances and challenges law enforcement faces."
Hurley played an important role in another homicide investigation in which the suspect was arrested at a house in Omaha. While Lincoln officers headed to Omaha, Hurley wrote a district search warrant for the residence and the suspect's vehicle. He kept in constant communication with LPD and Omaha detectives and coordinated the quick signing and service of the warrant. Hurley also served two subpoenas and formulated an arrest warrant for the suspect.
Hurley also became heavily involved in a case that involved the shooting of two individuals in a drug deal. Although not assigned the follow-up, he continued to analyze phone records, serve subpoenas and monitor jail calls. He also tracked the suspect's phone when it was determined he was suicidal. The suspect was later found with the help of U.S. Marshals and taken into custody without incident. Hurley then wrote another search warrant which led to the discovery of large amounts of marijuana and a gun. Three family members of the suspected shooter were then suspected in a home invasion robbery as they tried to collect money to bond the suspect out of jail. Hurley reviewed the reports, developed probable cause for charges, wrote three arrest warrants and coordinated with U.S. Marshals to locate the suspects.
His nominators say Hurley is now busy collecting electronic evidence in an April homicide. So far, he has served more than 10 subpoenas and contacted Facebook to save records.
The other categories in which employees can be nominated are customer relations, safety, valor and loss prevention. Consideration also may be given to nominations that demonstrate self-initiated accomplishments or those completed outside of the nominee's job description. All City employees are eligible for the award except for elected and appointed officials. Individuals or teams can be nominated by supervisors, peers, subordinates and the general public. Nomination forms are available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: hr) or from department heads, employee bulletin boards or the Human Resources Department, which oversees the awards program.
All nominations are considered 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 $50 gift certificate, a day off with pay and a plaque. All monthly winners and nominees are eligible to receive the annual award, which comes with a $250 gift certificate, two days off with pay and a plaque.