The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, February 20, 1995, Page 3, Image 3

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Monday, Febmary 20,1995 Page 3
Police training changes according to times
Continued from Page 1
coin Police officer, Alvin Banks
played football for the University ol
Nebraska-Lincoln and majored in
business administration.
Banks said he saw ihe negative
influences that teen-agers grew up
under, and he wanted to change that.
As he was explaining, Banks re
ceived a surprise from his girlfriend
Rachael — a bouquet of six roses.
Banks, a tall man with stealth black
hair, grinned sheepishly and turned
away from his teasing friends.
The mood of the students is casual
and not much different from a college
classroom. After putting their hands
on a pop can — part of their finger
printing exercise—they try their Air
Jordan techniques by throwing the
cans across the room into the
collector’s box.
Shane Schwarz dusted his Diet
Dr.Pepper can, but nothing showed up.
“What am I doing wrong?” he said,
staring at the can for an answer. “Well,
I never was any good at painting.”
Schwarz, a future officer with the
Overton Police Department, picked
up a different brush.
“Oh yeah, this is a lot better. Look
at those coming up on there!”
In the evening, after a few stifled
yawns during a driver safety video,
students cheer when “Home Improve
ment” comes on. The students watched
homicide videos a week before.
The casual attitude in class is a stress
reliever, Schwarz said, and no matter
how many jokes are made, the officers
realize the seriousness of their jobs.
Robert Butler had his head buried
in a thick three-ring binder during a
break in his traffic safety night class.
The transition to the gravity and
severity of their field work depended
on control, he said. As students, he
said, they were still learning under
the control of an instructor.
“But when you go into a situation,
you have to be'in control of the situ
ation,” he said. “People are looking
for leadership, and they’re looking
toward you.”
Until then, he will build up his
own leadership skills at the center.
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fri
days begin with 6:15 a.m. physical
training. Tuesdays and Thursdays
start with room-inspection checks,
where a smudge on the mirror calls
for reproach.
The first few weeks are filled with
academic classes from 9 a.m. to 12
p.m., 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and sometimes
a night class from 6 to 10 p.m.
They study 516 hours in academic
and practical lessons in legal aspects,
patrol, officer survival, investigation,
human understanding and traffic op
They are allowed to leave at night,
but must be back by 11 p.m. Students
can go home on weekends.
“What do we do for fun? Laundry.
We went to Wal-Mart the other night.
That was exciting,” Traci Bosen man
aged to say with a straight face.
Bosen, who is training as a Sarpy
County Sheriff’s deputy, said students
were too busy studying to go out on
weeknights. But by 6 p.m. Friday, she
said, the parking lot was empty.
“Everyone goes home,” she said.
“You’d go insane if you didn’t.”
An album filled with graduation
photographs sits on the table in a
darkened library. In the early 1960s,
the photos are dominated by white
males. Not until the 1970s do women
and minorities appear in the pictures.
When they graduate March 31, the
122nd Basic’s photograph will re
flect male and female officers ages 21
to 60 from various racial backgrounds.
Students said they realized the im
pact the Renteria incident and the
indictments of Lincoln police officers
had on the image of Nebraska’s law
enforcement. The incident reflected a
growing concern for multicultural
training and police force.
“I think everyone wants justice,”
Butler said. “But you have to go a step
beyond. You want everything to be
fair and equal, but when it goes out of
tilt, you look for someone to blame.”
Two future LPD officers, Todd
Hohbein and Chad Barrett, said di
versity training taught them how to
approach other ethnic groups.
Though cultural training is im
portant, Barrett said some people were
using it to “jump to conclusions” about
police officers.
“There’s huge stereotypes,” he
said. “The number one thing you
have to realize as a policeman is that
people always wait for you to make a
“You make a mistake, you’re on
everybody’s blacklist. You do some
thing good, and you might hear about
it. You might see it in the papers.”
For nine years, Thomas Miller has
served as the center’s director. In the
early years, he said, students came in
with the perception that they would
become the officers they saw on tele
Now, officers are younger, physi
cany tit and have a stronger desire tc
help people, he said, and the training
schedule has changed with them.
It’s a great training center, Miller
said, but it could be better.
After reviewing the training, in
light of the Renteria incident, cul
tural awareness will be expanded from
two to 13 hours. Miller said he would
like to see the entire program ex
tended to 14 weeks instead of 12.
At 6 a.m., the scent of fried eggs
and sausage comes from the cafete
ria. No doughnuts for these officers as
they slowly file in for physical train
ing. After stretching, they run two
laps, then do push-ups.
Instructor Kevin Westphal barks,
“You’re a cop. You can do anything,
and you have to.”
Launa Humiston is willing to do
anything. Humiston has wanted to be
a police officer since she was 14, and
she’s preparing for LPD.
Her parents weren’t in favor of her
decision at first.
“They did not think it was a wise
choice for a female,” she said. “They
thought I was too small.”
Humiston tried her hand at ac
counting, but when she turned 21, her
real love prevailed.
Top photo: Traci Bosen, left, slumps in her chair during a
four-hour class while Philip Brazelton yawns. Middle photo:
Albert Fleming finds time between classes to call his girlfriend
on Valentine’s Day. For many students, the telephone is the
only contact with friends and family. Bottom photo: Brad
Hansen, left, and Russell Besmer do push-ups as part of their
physical training. The students have mandatory physical
training three days a week at 6 a.m. p y
Photos by Jay Calderon
Like most of the officers, Humiston
will undergo additional training at
her own agency. Graduation from the
center clears the first step of her goal.
When that day comes, Humiston
said she would feel a mix of happi
ness and relief — but no fear.
“I’m going to make it.”