Supervision/Services New & Noteworthy

Division of Parole Supervision Invests in Officer Safety

One of the major initiatives of the Division of Parole Supervision (DPS) for 2022 has been a significant investment in improving officer safety training.  This has been accomplished by implementing Verbal Judo and creating a “Safety Week” at the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center (NLETC) in Grand Island.

Verbal Judo is a system of communication and de-escalation developed by Dr. George Thompson to help police officers prevent unnecessary uses of physical force through better communication.  Through our partnership with the Verbal Judo Institute, parole officers were taught valuable skills to redirect behavior, diffuse difficult situations and generate voluntary compliance from our clients.  The training was delivered by Mike “Ziggy” Siegfried, a retired police officer with over 25 years of street law enforcement experience.  Ziggy will be returning in September to deliver an instructor development course that will allow DPS to sustain this critical initiative internally.  Once certified, our instructors will be able to teach both the Enforcement Professional version, intended for field staff, as well as the Contact Professional version, intended for administrative and support staff.

DPS moved officer safety training, which includes defensive tactics, use of restraints and searches, to NLETC to create a learning environment that allows officers to focus solely on mastering these critical skills, without the distraction of being in their normal working areas.  Additionally, four new instructors were certified this year, which allows for increased individual attention for the training participants.  We are also able to make use of the NLETC’s excellent facilities, including two scenario houses where we can practice field contacts and searches in a highly realistic environment.  Staff who attended the first session of the repackaged training reported that they felt more relaxed and focused during the week, and more confident in their knowledge and skills afterward.  DPS will continue its investment in officer safety by holding monthly booster trainings across the state.

Parole Hosts 2nd Annual Child Abuse Prevention Month Fundraiser to Benefit Nebraska's Child Advocacy Centers

For the second consecutive year, the Nebraska Board of Parole and Division of Parole Supervision observed Child Abuse Prevention Month.  Since 1983, this Country has observed April as a time to remember we have a duty to prevent children from being harmed.  Nebraska’s Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) are non-profit organizations working to provide a safe, child-friendly location for conducting forensic interviews and medical evaluations for children experiencing abuse.

As described in their mission statement, “the Nebraska Alliance of Child Advocacy Centers is dedicated to enhancing Nebraska’s response to child abuse with a multidisciplinary approach throughout all of our state’s 93 counties.”  In support of this mission, our Agency sponsored a fundraiser to support Nebraska’s CACs through a series of events, and welcomed free will donations throughout the month of April.  In 2021, the Agency raised a total of $500 and a multitude of material item donations.  All monetary donations were dispersed to CACs in rural regions of Nebraska, while all material items were delivered to CACs in Lincoln and Omaha.

This year, beginning on April 1st, our Agency participated in “Wear Blue Day” as a show of support to the essential work being done in our communities to provide a better, safer future for children.  By wearing blue, staff demonstrated their commitment to assisting CACs in enhancing positive childhood experiences and preventing child abuse.  Also on April 1st, staff members took part in a hybrid training presentation, offered both virtually and in person, delivered by Paige Piper, Executive Director of the Lincoln CAC.  Ms. Piper detailed the history, mission, purpose, process, and services provided by the Lincoln CAC, while offering insight on strategies our Agency can utilize to further assist in ensuring the safety of children in the community.

Additionally, staff members volunteered to submit photos of themselves listing their reason for wearing blue in support of child abuse prevention.  These submissions were then posted to the Agency’s social media platforms in an “I wear blue because” series, each Monday of April. Next, the Agency held a door decoration contest offering staff an opportunity to decorate their office doors, with the winner being selected by the Board of Parole.  The winner received a gift basket full of blue themed items donated by members of the Child Abuse Prevention Month sub-committee.  Furthermore, the Lincoln and Omaha District Parole Offices served as donation stations throughout the month of April, with special giveaway items offered every Tuesday.  For each donation received, the individual making the donation was entered into a drawing.  Drawing prizes included Amazon gift cards for one winner in Lincoln, Omaha, and North/West regions of the state.

In total, $800 in monetary donations were received in the form of cash, check, as well as gift/gas cards.  An outstanding number of material items were also received in the Lincoln and Omaha offices.  This year, all CACs in Nebraska will receive a gas card for families in need of assistance.  Also, all monetary donations will be divided equally amongst CACs in rural Nebraska (Gering, Grand Island, Kearney, Norfolk, and North Platte).  All material items will be delivered from Lincoln and Omaha to their respective CACs.  

The Nebraska Board of Parole and Division of Parole Supervision is a proud supporter of CACs in Nebraska, and their commitment to create a safe place for all children experiencing abuse.  In 2021 and 2022, our Agency has donated a total of $1,300 to rural CACs in Nebraska, in addition to material items to Lincoln and Omaha’s CACs.  We are grateful for every donation received from our staff, and from those outside our Agency.  We recognize and appreciate the efforts of our Child Abuse Prevention Month sub-committee, who facilitated this fundraiser and worked to create its success.  We applaud each Nebraska CAC for their efforts to prevent and end child abuse.  More specifically by allowing children to share their story, support them in times of crisis, provide trauma-informed care, respond to adversity endured by the families they serve, and pursue justice for the victims.  CACs are essential organizations that can and do make a difference for children and families in our community.  Our Agency looks forward to supporting this cause again next year.  In the state of Nebraska, everyone is a mandatory reporter. This means if you know a child is being harmed either physically, psychologically, or sexually you must report it.  You can do so by calling the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at (800) 652-1999.  You can find your local CAC by visiting this link:  https://www.nebraskacacs.com/cac-information/find-your-local-cac.html

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

The Nebraska Board of Parole and the Division of Parole Supervision are eager to observe National Crime Victims' Rights Week April 24-30, 2022.  Our Agency remains committed to supporting all survivors and witnesses of crime.  In line with our mission to ensure community safety, it is our goal to raise awareness of the resources available to survivors. We continue to expand our services through collaboration with community and national partners.

Victims have the option to enroll in offender notifications.  Nebraska Victims of Crime Alert Portal (NEVCAP) provides a text and/or email notification services for offenders held in jail and community corrections.  To register, visit https://nevcap.nebraska.gov/.  The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) also offers a program to receive alerts for incarcerated individuals.  To register or update contact information, and for services available for victims prior to release, visit https://www.corrections.nebraska.gov/public-information/victim-services.  Please visit our website to learn more about victim rights, notification registration, available resources, and information about the parole supervision and post-release process.

Parole's Victim Services offers confidential support, provides resource referrals, and will guide survivors through the parole supervision process.  If you are a victim or survivor and have parole-related questions or concerns, please contact Kelsey with Parole's Victim Services at 402-309-4302 or kelsey.hansen@nebraska.gov.

District Supervisor Speaks to Peru State Class

The Division of Parole Supervision’s District Supervisor, Todd Rosenthal, had the opportunity to speak to the Community-Based Corrections class at Peru State College in February 2022.  His presentation included the history of Parole in Nebraska, the Agency’s Vision and Mission, and the duties, responsibilities, and daily activities of our Parole Officers.  The Division of Parole Supervision was pleased to be represented by District Supervisor Rosenthal to share information about Parole with Peru State students.

Parole Engages with LPD “Explorers"

In February 2022, Specialized Parole Officers Oscar Lopez and Jordan Wall had the opportunity to speak at the Lincoln Police Department (LPD) “Explorers” meeting.  The “Explorers” is a program run by LPD where LPD meets with 14 to 21 year old young men and women who are interested in careers in law enforcement.  The Division of Parole Supervision was asked to participate to share with these young men and women about the Division of Parole Supervision, the Mission and Vision of our Agency, and the duties of our officers.  The Division of Parole Supervision was honored to be a part of this presentation.

Parole Leaders Recognized for Excellence in Leadership

Leaders within the Nebraska Board of Parole/Division of Parole Supervision were recipients of 2021 Excellence in Leadership Awards by the Honorable Pete Ricketts in October 2021.  Those recognized were Mikki Kirkpatrick, a Parole Supervisor within the agency, and Ken J. Quinn, Assistant Director of Supervision – Field Services.

Supervisor Kirkpatrick, who has nearly 27 years of state service, began her career with the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services and has held increasingly responsible positions during her tenure with the state.  In 2020, she was promoted from Specialized Parole Officer to Lincoln Regional Office Parole Supervisor.  In this role, she led team members through a challenging time when COVID-19 began emerging in Nebraska.  She provided support, guidance, and a compassionate approach for teammates dealing with childcare issues, adjustments in working remotely, and developed a flexible work schedule for teammates to accommodate these challenges, while simultaneously hiring and training new teammates to fill vacancies.  Her actions were instrumental in allowing the agency to fulfill its mission of maintaining public safety and regarding COVID-19 in particular, to keeping people healthy.

Assistant Director Quinn has served the state of Nebraska for many years and is a role model and leader to us all.  He has worked in many capacities within state government and has always brought his leadership skills to each of those positions.  Many of the positions he has held have required the utmost integrity and leadership.  He serves by example, has mentored staff, and seeks to ensure the agency is held to the highest standards.  Working within prisons and in community supervision with the formerly incarcerated provides challenges and Assistant Director Quinn has always risen to meet the challenges presented.  His optimistic view of the world and that everyone is a valued individual provides inspiration for us all. 

Both are deserving of this recognition for their Excellence in Leadership. 

Opportunities on the Horizon for 2022

Opportunities on the Horizon for 2022

By Julie Micek, LIMHP, Director

Division of Parole Supervision

 

As the Nebraska Board of Parole/Division of Parole Supervision embarks on opportunities that we see on the horizon for 2022 that we believe will be achievable, I want to first acknowledge what was accomplished in 2021.  The year brought many adjustments to where we worked and how we conducted business.  Building teams and coming together as a collective agency was one of our goals for the year and we have seen the fruits of our labor as we have flourished in all aspects of our parole business. 

As we move into 2022, our transitional living housing dream is close to becoming a reality.  A location has been chosen, an architect is helping to achieve a beautiful space, and a donor is planning to purchase the building which the agency will lease on a monthly basis.  Ideally, we would like to be able to welcome our first client in early summer.  This will create several new positions within the agency and opportunities for growth within.

We are looking forward to placing a large focus on our case management as it relates to programming.  We will focus on gaining a deeper understanding of how treatment impacts and changes behavior.  We will also work on developing tools to better gather and share information with our providers and with officers regarding programming—not only making referrals, but growing our partnership with our many providers will help us establish a strong foundation as it relates to treatment.

We are also reinventing our training as it relates to safety and defensive techniques.  We are planning to add a verbal de-escalation component to complement our hands-on techniques.

2022 will bring more exploration with TJ McDowell, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, who spoke with us about bias, prejudice, and racism during our Annual All-Staff Meeting in October 2021.  We will be engaging in smaller focus groups to continue the important conversation that was started in the fall.

We are planning to move the Omaha Regional Parole Office in 2022 as we have come to a point where we are out of space both with staff offices and our programming needs.  We are shifting some staff to remote work as it makes sense from a business perspective and a cost savings function.  Toward this end, we have started the process to look for space and are excited to find a location that fits everyone’s needs.

A victim specialist position has been added through a federal grant.  We are excited to expand this service to victims and assist our staff in meeting the needs of the community in 2022.

We also look forward to planning another All Staff Meeting in the fall of 2022 with the idea of possibly offering breakout sessions within the two days so there is content for all staff that specifically fits with their work within the agency. 

With change comes endless possibilities.  Together we will meet the challenges of 2022.

Parole’s Holiday Spirit Benefits Saratoga Students and Families

The Lincoln Regional Parole Office continues to be a proud member of the Saratoga Community Action Group and again participated in the annual Saratoga Elementary School Holiday Donation Event. 

The goal for the 2021 event was to collect donations, gifts, and gift cards with the aim of providing each Saratoga student with 2 gifts and each Saratoga family with 1 gift card.  With the Saratoga Elementary School enrollment, this adds up to a goal of collecting 482 presents and 170 gift cards.  The staff from the Lincoln Regional Parole Office graciously donated over 25 gifts and gift cards.