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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Dec. 3, 1996)
Police officer earns trust
by learning new language
SCHUYLER (AP)—Schuyler police officer
Aaron Pierce has found that learning someone’s
language is the most effective way to earn trust.
The 24-year-old officer completed an inten
sive Spanish language course and is using his
new skill to work with a growing Hispanic popu
lation in Schuyler.
Pierce has said, “Ponga sus manos en las
espalda,” several times since returning from lan
„ guage training this summer. But telling a sus
” pect to “put your hands behind your back” isn’t
Pierce’s best experience since completing the
“It seems like people look at you differently
if you can try to speak their language,” Pierce
said. “It puts them at ease to trust me more.”
Pierce, a night-shift officer, was hired two
years ago, and said he was honored to be cho
sen to learn Spanish.
“I was sent to help serve the Hispanic com
munity better and I think it’s doing that,” Pierce
said. “They can get just as frustrated as we get,
too, when you mispronounce a word or some
thing, and it opens things up a little bit now that
I understand their culture a lot better.”
On a recent weekend, Pierce had finished a
domestic disturbance call and ended up being
quizzed by Spanish speakers at the scene.
“The victim knew enough English and I knew
enough Spanish to lighten the situation,” Pierce
said. “Some guys there were seeing how much I
knew by asking me to name different parts of
In August, Pierce joined about 20 other of
ficers from around the counfry in attending Span
ish classes at the Federal Law Enforcement
Training Center in Artesia, N.M. Pierce was
able to attend the class through the help of pri
vate donations. City Clerk Mary Peschel said
Schuyler businesses and individuals donated
more than $1,500 for Pierce’s airfare and tu
Pierce said his studies involved role playing
Spanish skits by day, and a nightly review with
his roommate, Hall County Sheriffs Department
deputy Chris Rea.
One evening during the first week of class,
Pierce said he and Rea answered a surprise
knock on their motel door.
An instructor with a mock search warrant for
It seems like people look
at you differently if you
can try to speak their
Schuyler police officer
English materials told them in Spanish that h(
had come to confiscate any English newspapers
books, or television tuned to English programs
“We were so glad that we didn’t have any
thing and had been doing our Spanish home
work,” Pierce said. A mock trial was held foi
those caught with English materials, and student!
found “guilty” were sentenced to sing Spanish
songs to the laughter of their classmates.
The game helped officers understand how
people who are not native English speakers feel
when they deal with U.S. law enforcement of
ficers and the court system, Pierce said.
“So it’s a relief to Hispanics when we speak
Spanish,” Pierce said. “They have something tc
tell us and it might be important. They don’t
want to wait for an interpreter.”
Pierce had never studied a foreign language
before, but he now #brks with flash cards tc
increase his Spanish skills. He has attached
Spanish labels to the furniture and other items
in his home.
“I’m trying to add more words to my vocabu
lary,” Pierce said. “Everyone expected I could
speak Spanish just as fluently in two weeks as 1
do English, but there’s a lot more studying to go
As he struggles to conjugate verbs, Pierce
said he plans to. sign up for additional Spanish
courses at Central Community College.
A man who tried to rob an Amigo’s restau
rant with a knife Saturday night couldn’t get the
cash because it was locked in a safe.
A janitor at Amigo’s, 2825 Comhusker High
way, told police the suspect broke in through
the south glass door at about 2:50 a.m., Lincoln
police Sgt. Ann Heermann said.
The suspect pulled a 4-inch paring knife on
the janitor and asked him where the money was,
Heermann said. The janitor pointed tp the safe;
and the suspect told him to get out of the way.
After he failed to open the safe, he left
through the shattered door.
The janitor said the suspect was a white man
• in his 20s, about 6-feet tall and 150 pounds. The
man was wearing a bluejacket, blue jeans and a
black ski mask.
More than $11,000 in jewelry was stolen
Friday night from an Omaha man’s car while
parked at the Days Inn near the Lincoln airport.
The suspect broke into the car through the
driver’s-srde window and took a briefcase with
expensive jewelry inside, including three
women’s diamond rings and a gold men’s brace
let, Heermann said.
Two Nebraska Starter jackets also were
taken, for a total loss of $ 11,670.
An 18-year-old man turned a loaded hand
gun over to police after grabbing it from a boy
The man was at Kwik Shop at 48th and
Calvert streets at 3 a.m. Thursday when he saw
a group of kids hanging out in front of the store,
Heermann said. ,
He saw one boy, who looked about 12 years
old, tuck a handgun in the back of his pants,
Heermann said. He approached the boy and
grabbed the gun from him, Heermann said, so
the boy and oUicts ran away.
He later turned the fully-loaded 9 mm Ruger
over to police.
The boy was described as about 5 feet, 7
inches tall with an average build and a shaved
Anyone who sees someone carrying a
weapon should call police instead of trying to
take the weapon, Heermann said.
ISU study targets emu meat, oils
amco, iowa (af) — tmu producers are
betting that scientific research will back up their
view that the bird’s meat is tasty and that its oils
are commercially useful for ointments and cos
Emu ranchers in Iowa have donated 24 of
the flightless birds to researchers at Iowa State
University, where scientists are raising them to
market weight. The birds will then be slaugh
tered and the meat and oils tested.
Enthusiasts say the meat is just as tasty as
beef but with less cholesterol. And the really
valuable part of the bird, they say, is a thick layer
of fat along its back, which can be rendered into
an oil that has anti-inflammatory properties.
But emu producers have had limited success
in efforts to expand the market for both the meat
and oiisf, which can be made into ointments and
Rich Olson of Iowa Falls, president of the
60-member Iowa Emu Association, said the re
search is critical because the results seem un
“People look at you like, “How can it be?’”
he said. The research is “going to show those
claims are true.”
Sell said researchers will test the taste of
emus, which have been divided into two groups
—one being fed dietary fat from animal tallow
and another getting its fat from soybean oil.
The researchers will also do chemical tests
on the oil rendered from the fat.
Emus are natives of Australia but have
proven to be hearty in Iowa’s climate. They grow
to about 120 pounds to 150 pounds, although
the research animals will be slaughtered when
they reach about 85 pounds.
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