BEATRICE – The number two ranked officer in the Beatrice Police Department will call it a career, June 11th. Captain Gerald Lamken, second-in-command to Chief Bruce Lang, retires after a 43-year career in law enforcement, 38 of those with Beatrice Police. Lamkin has been in charge of making sure road patrol and investigations are being done by the book, with no favoritism.
"To make sure that what we do, was proper, what we did was fair and what we did was just. Justice is blind and that's something that I pushed to all of the officers."
Lamkin says the department has a great group of men and women who “know their stuff”.
"A lot of times, if I kick something back, it's to get a little more. I want a little more information, because I know the prosecutor will want a little more information."
Lamkin serves as Acting Chief when Chief Lang is gone. "There's a saying....I believe it was Booker T. Washington...there's two ways to exert one's strength.....one is to push down and the other is to pull up. We're a pull up type of agency, where we want to help. That's how we can get our job done."
Chief Lang says one of the issues police have dealt in the recent past is the perception of police by some citizens, in light of highly publicized events involving questioned police tactics. Lang says the last thing an officer wants it to harm someone or do something that reflects badly on their department.
"All of the police officers I know...not just here...they want to do the right thing. When the perception's out there, because they show a five-second clip of a body cam, or because some celebrity wants to stand up and say, a blanket statement that all police are bad or all law enforcement have ill intentions...that really wears on those of us that are trying to do it, the right way. People ask you, what do you think about that George Floyd thing...well, the guy that got convicted of that crime was a bad cop. Just like there's bad lawyers, there's bad doctors, there's bad teachers, there's bad newscasters...there's bad apples in every profession. We would be the first ones to say let's get those people out of the profession, but let's don't also paint everyone with this same biased brush that doesn't represent the real world."
Police, like everyone else, had to fight through Covid-19 over the past year. Several department personnel tested positive for the coronavirus, including Captain Lamkin. The Marine Corps veteran who served from 1973 to 1977 says he wants to take a deep breath and not commit to a lot of things, at least in the first part of retirement.
"I'm the current Commander of American Legion and a Legion Rider, and a Son and involved with the church. So, I have enough volunteer duties to keep my plate full. And, that's what I want to do, to do what I want to do when I want to do it. I think that's the concept of retirement."
Chief Lang thanked Lamkin publicly on KWBE Thursday for what he’s done both for the department and his community.