Mayor Chris Beutler today will present the Mayor’s Award of Excellence for May to Police Officer Launa Groves who works in the Forensic Identification Unit of the Lincoln Police Department (LPD). The award will be presented at 3 p.m. at the beginning of the City Council meeting at the County-City Building, 555 S. 10th Street. The monthly award recognizes City employees who consistently provide exemplary service and work that demonstrates personal commitment to the City.
Groves is a certified Latent Print Examiner through the International Association for Identification. Forensic Lab Manager Erin Sims nominated her in the categories of productivity and safety by for her recent work on three specific cases, which led to the clearance of six armed robberies and four gun store burglaries:
- The first case was an armed bank robbery in December 2016. One of the two robbers left behind a plastic bag. Groves found a receipt inside, which resulted in the retailer providing video of the suspects. She processed the receipt and bag for prints, which led to the identification of a suspect who was arrested. Further investigation led to the arrest of a second suspect, and continued investigation led to the clearance of four convenience store robberies committed by the two suspects.
- The second case was a burglary at a jewelry and pawn shop. Groves again processed a plastic bag left at the scene and was able to identify a suspect who was arrested. A warrant for the suspect’s phone revealed photos of numerous stolen guns and a second suspect who was arrested. Further investigation led to the clearance of three additional gun store burglaries, and some, but not all of the guns have been recovered.
- The third case occurred earlier, in February of 2016, when a bank was robbed by a man who also left behind a plastic bag. After hearing about Groves’ success in recovering latent prints from plastic bags, the investigator sent the bag to her for processing. Groves was again able to identify a suspect who lives in Omaha. Lincoln and Omaha police continue to work together to locate the suspect to clear the robbery and several other cases in which he is suspected.
Sims said numerous officers and investigators did good work on the cases. But, she wrote, “Officer Groves provided the missing pieces that gave investigators the information they needed to focus their investigation and resources on the parties responsible, and stopping these criminals from committing future violent gun related offenses.”
The other categories in which employees can be nominated are customer relations, valor and loss prevention. Consideration also may be given to nominations that demonstrate self-initiated accomplishments or those completed outside of the nominee’s job description. All City employees are eligible for the award except for elected and appointed officials. Individuals or teams can be nominated by supervisors, peers, subordinates and the general public. Nomination forms are available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: hr) or from department heads, employee bulletin boards or the Human Resources Department, which oversees the awards program.
All nominations are considered 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 $50 gift certificate, a day off with pay and a plaque. All monthly winners and nominees are eligible to receive the annual award, which comes with a $250 gift certificate, two days off with pay and a plaque.