Beverly Dean Hansen was born June 7, 1933, on a ranch in Kansas. He was married to Rose and together they had two children, Greg and Debbie.
After completing a tour in Japan with the U.S. Army from 1952 to 1953, the couple moved to Lincoln. He joined the Lincoln Police Department in 1956. Dean received a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1974.
He was a motorcycle officer in the late 1950's but was involved in a bad accident in 1959 in which he suffered a broken leg. He came back to work soon after and, as a lieutenant, he was the third person from the Lincoln Police Department to be accepted to take part in a nine-month traffic program.
He served as assistant chief to George Hansen, who moved to become chief in Fresno, California in
January 1979. Soon after, Leitner became chief of police. However, Leo Scherer, a city councilman, accused Mayor Boosalis of rushing to appoint Leitner as chief. An article (right) from December 20, 1978 describes Scherer's frustration.
In January of 1974, he extended the Lincoln's Fatality Accident Reduction Enforcement program (FARE). This program was put in place to help pedestrians cross the street safely. "The program was geared to hazardous moving violations during its 1973 operation in Lincoln, and not toward pedestrians." (John Gleason, Lincoln Journal Star, Jan. 20,1974, pg 8B) The program was enforced around schools during early morning hours, and other locations they determined were areas of concern.
In the 1988 Annual Report, Lincoln Police Department had a special dedication to Chief Leitner, stated as follows:
The officers and employees of the Lincoln Police Department would like to dedicate the 1988 Annual Report to B. Dean Leitner, who after 10 years as chief, retired this year. Through his dedication and insight the Lincoln Police Department is a leader in law enforcement excellence.
Appointed as a Police Officer in January 1957, Chief Leitner served in virtually every capacity within the department. In 1974, then Mayor Helen Boosalis, appointed him Chief of Police.
During his 31 year tenure, Chief Leitner saw numerous changes within the department. For example, in the mid-70's the changes to Community Policing, increased need for formal education, and rising community demands. Chief Leitner was always responsive to department and community needs, and possessed an uncanny ability to predict future needs and concerns. An employee or citizen with a problem or concern never found his door closed.
It is because of Chief Leitner that Lincoln is viewed by many as a very profession, community-conscious department that in many ways is a nation model and reservoir of talked for other departments. We take pride in outstanding and strive to continually build on our strong foundation.
Upon retiring, Chief Leitner indicated a desire to spend more time with wife Ro on their boat. We would also like to thank Ro for her understanding through the year of long hours, interrupted dinners and missed outings. Ro exemplifies the family support need in law enforcement, for her dedication to the department was as great as his.
We hope retirement brings happiness, good health and good fishing to them, wherever they may go.
- Lincoln Police Department
Dean Leitner retired from the Lincoln Police Department in April of 1988 and moved to Hemet California in 1989, where he lived only 30 minutes from his son Greg. Leitner passed away at the age of 70 on December 13, 2003. He is buried, along with his wife Rose, in the Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Lincoln, Nebraska.