Officer of the Year 2017
Officer Brian Ward
Although an officer with the Lincoln Police Department for twenty-four years, Officer Brian Ward has consistently proven himself one of the most active officers on the force. In the past year alone, he issued 251 traffic citations, made 29 felony arrests as well as 103 misdemeanor arrests. These numbers are indicative of his performance year after year. The past year, however, was one of his most productive and active ever while assigned to the Center Team.
In January, Officer Ward was detailed to the scene of a shooting and was one of the first officers to arrive there. Although the victim was later declared deceased, Officer Ward remained calm and successfully coordinated the arrival of other officers as well as medical units to his location.
While patrolling his team area in mid-April, officers were dispatched to a call of shots fired and a request for medical response. Although this call was within another team area, Officer Ward was one of the first responding units. The scene was emotionally charged, as children were still inside the residence where the shooting took place. Still, Brian's composure enabled him to safely direct other units to entry. One of the victims was deceased at the scene, but there was another victim still alive, yet unable to move. After ensuring the safety of the children inside, Officer Ward and other officers made their way to the injured party and removed him from the residence in order for medical personnel to tend to victim.
Early in the year, officers on the Southeast Team were investigating an auto theft near Gateway Mall. Once the suspect was identified, Officer Ward indicated his familiarity with the suspect, having worked another case involving the same man. After officers had located a second stolen vehicle, Officer Ward began to migrate to that direction. Soon, officers engaged in a foot pursuit with the suspect, who led them to a nearby store. Officer Ward was there with the other officers to take the party into custody and eventually clear up a number of related cases.
Just days later, officers on another team were sent to a bank on the report of a robbery that had just occurred. As he often does, Officer Ward headed in the general direction of the bank, taking an outer perimeter position in hopes of containing a suspect. Once the perimeter was cleared and upon leaving the area, Brian began scouting on his own and noticed a set of foot prints and loose paper currency. As if following bread crumbs, Officer Ward followed the tracks and the money to a drainage ditch. He summoned additional help and the suspect was later captured just blocks away after using the drainage ditch as an escape route.
In early May, there was a report of an armed bank robbery in the downtown area. Officer Ward was the assigned unit on this particular call and given a fairly detailed description of the armed robber. On his way to the bank, Officer Ward noticed a party riding a bike who matched the description of the suspect. Brian alerted another officer who was close by and ultimately made contact with the party after a short pursuit. A large amount of money taken from the bank during the robbery was found on this party. Officer Ward's listening skills and attention to his surroundings helped solve this particular bank robbery just minutes after it occurred.
In December of 2016, Officer Ward heard an officer on the Northwest Team be dispatched to a counterfeit call on West O Street. Again, after hearing the description of the suspect, Officer Ward began scouting likely potential businesses which could also fall victim to the person responsible. Within minutes. Officer Ward spotted the suspect vehicle leaving the lot of a business near the downtown area. After initiating a traffic stop, Officer Ward discovered the driver fit the physical description of the suspect. Further investigation revealed the person Officer Ward had stopped had attempted to pass a fake bill in the business he had just left. The traffic stop and subsequent arrest made by Officer Ward led to the clearance of at least six other counterfeit cases across the city and to the identification and arrest of an accomplice.
Although short examples, the incidents listed above are a perfect example of the work Brian puts forth day after day. He is a skilled patrol officer, is engaged daily with his work and is a tremendous asset to the Lincoln Police Department. Always willing to help with never having to be asked, his attitude about his work is contagious and even though he may not realize it, his dedication and engagement with the community makes those around him better. For his consistent achievements, his work ethic and approach to team work, the Awards Committee is proud to name Officer Brian Ward as the 2017 Officer of the Year.