By KALIN KROHE
At its March 3 meeting Alliance City Council accepted employee promotions of three Alliance police officers. Kirk Felker was promoted to Lieutenant, while Stefan Yocum and David LaDuke were promoted to Sergeant.
"First I want to say that these guys are the true essence of our values," Alliance Police Chief Philip Lukens said. "Our values are ethic, excellence, professionalism, integrity and passion. These guys worked very hard in our department. They're very much so leaders. They've done a lot of different things over the course of time and they're dedicated to our community."
Lukens said officer Felker was Sergeant for a period of time and has been with the APD for a long time.
"He's doing our overseeing of our dispatch and intelligence," Lukens said. "So he's working on a lot of the admin side of stuff. He's the one gathering the bills, meeting with communications and the 911 folks. And all of the Lumen stuff that you've seen that I've talked about; the switchover that's been happening with our new Viper 7-911 answering system, the 911 AI that we're about to talk about...all of the grants. Bless his heart. I think a snowballed him with a lot of paper, but he's done a great job for department. He's taken the ball and run with it. So we've promoted Kirk to Lieutenant."
Lukens said officer Yocum has been a patrol officer for some time.
"He powered through and he's shown a lot of skill set," Lukens said. "People talk about the citizen survey and want to see more DUI arrests...top DUI arrest in our city, Stefan has done single handedly. We just submitted him to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) award. I don't know if he'll end up getting it or not, but we submitted him because of his endurance and the job that he's doing out on the street...and also all of the other things that he is showing our officers and working together."
Lukens said office LaDuke worked on the Western Nebraska Intelligence and Narcotics Group (WING) for four years and has been with the APD.
"He's the undercover guy...to talk about all the drugs, the stuff that the citizens have talked about being a concern, Lukens said. "I will tell you second to none, that rests on his shoulders. He has made a lot of arrests. A lot of this is David's work or a part of all of that work, working all over the place."
Lukens called all of these officers "rock stars."
"They're showing our community that they're dedicated to it and they show everybody that they're dedicated to our department," Lukens said. "They work a lot of hours right now. We are a little short staffed and everybody's working a lot...and it's really great to see everybody doing well and working hard for the department. I wanted to make it so the whole world knew these folks were promoted because of the work they do. They say they don't thank a police officer enough until they die...right, that's the only time they think, oh wow, look at all the great things. And you know these guys are working every day, doing something for our community. I greatly appreciate you guys...you should be applauded for what you guys do. You do a great job in our community. And I never tell you thanks enough, but I appreciate all that you do. We've gone through a lot of changes in a year, but I think our community is starting to see the fruits of your efforts. So thank you very much."
Mayor Mike Dafney thanked the three officers on behave of the council.
"We don't get a chance to tell you that often," Dafney said. "We want to know we appreciate you. Chief's right, there's been a lot of changes for the good. We couldn't be prouder of you, so thank you very much."