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Mayor's Office

2007 Media Releases


Date:
July 16, 2007
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831


MAYOR PRESENTS JUNE AWARD OF EXCELLENCE

Mayor Chris Beutler today presented the Mayor’s Award of Excellence for June to Officer Cynthia Koenig-Warnke of the Lincoln Police Department. 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.

Koenig-Warnke has been with LPD more than nine years and is currently assigned to the Technical Investigations Unit. She conducts investigations involving fraud, embezzlement, identity theft, vulnerable adult abuse and other financial crimes. She also helps with liquor and vice issues and investigations. Sergeant Sandra Myers nominated her in the category of productivity for work on a case of identity theft.

Last December, Koenig-Warnke took a call from a California man who discovered that someone had compromised his wife’s identity. He had already called several other police departments in Nebraska and Iowa and was frustrated to learn there was not much they could do. Someone had used the woman’s identity to open charge accounts with national retail chains, and then used the accounts to make purchases in Lincoln. Koenig-Warnke contacted the local businesses and was able to determine where the identity theft possibly occurred. She also determined that this crime was occurring in several states. She recruited other police agencies having jurisdiction and enlisted the help of the Secret Service to help her navigate across state lines. By this time, she was coordinating an investigation that involved eight agencies in four states. One of the Lincoln stores had surveillance cameras in the parking lot, which led to a description of the suspects’ vehicle. An interview with a witness resulted in further information.

Myers writes that because of Koenig-Warnke’s great work, four victims from California and one from Pennsylvania were identified, with a loss of almost $30,000 attributed to five suspects. Federal indictments are pending against this identity theft ring operating in Iowa and Nebraska.

The original victim from California called to thank LPD, and called Koenig-Warnke “fantastic.” She said the Lincoln officer was the only person who would listen. She kept the victims updated on the investigation and put them in touch with other agencies that helped them work through all the problems associated with identity theft.

Since the arrests in this case, other investigators have confided that they did not believe any of these cases were related. They only continued to help because Koenig-Warnke was so persuasive and insistent. Myers said Koenig-Warnke’s work has further enhanced LPD’s great reputation throughout the nation. She added that Koenig-Warnke is always thorough and meticulous, and it was her work ethic and ability to engage other agencies that led to a successful investigation.

The other categories in which employees can be nominated are customer relations, loss prevention, safety and valor. All City employees are eligible for the Mayor’s 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.


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