The Bellevue Police Department provides numerous specialized services throughout various units within the organization. Police work in general is complicated and covers a multitude of fields. This requires that some officers obtain specialized training to handle situations or circumstances that go beyond general road patrol functions. Each specialized service provides a specific function and works to complement our mission. Members who perform these specialized services do so as either a part of their full time duties, or in some cases, in addition to their full time duties at the police department.
Most of the specialized services require officers to compete for the position and are strictly staffed on a volunteer basis. It allows officers to pursue a portion of the job that they really enjoy. Furthermore, the department reaps the benefits of having officers with these special skills to work situations that require a particular level of expertise.
Some of the specialized services offered by the Bellevue Police Department include:
Modern policing by mountain bike is now about a twenty year old concept. Its origins can be traced back to 1987 Seattle, Washington. Two officers, who also happened to be avid cyclists, were assigned to a high crime area in the city. They were frustrated with the results of patrolling this particular area by car, so they convinced their supervisors to let them try to use their mountain bikes at work. Their overwhelming success started a trend that swept across the nation. The next five to ten years saw most law enforcement agencies developing some type of bike patrol program. Bellevue, Nebraska was no exception.
Law enforcement agencies differ with how they use their bike patrol. Some departments have a small dedicated bike patrol unit with members assigned exclusively to that purpose. The Bellevue Police Department allows any Officer who has been certified to deploy a police mountain bike during their shift.
BIKE PATROL TRAINING
In 2004, the Bellevue Police Department developed a curriculum for a four day bike patrol training course. This program is designed to provide officers with the unique skills and confidence needed to take on the demands of policing by mountain bike. It has quickly become a success that has generated interest from agencies several states away that are seeking comprehensive bike patrol training.
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The Bellevue Police Department's Crash Reconstruction Unit began in 2002 with a grant from the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety to host a forensic diagramming class that included equipment and a computer aided diagramming program. The equipment used at that time was a Sokkia Total Station SDr-33 Data collector to download to the drawing program.
Prior to this training, BPD had individual officers with advanced training in crash investigation and reconstruction. With the training and certification, the officers came together to form the Crash Reconstruction Unit.
All officers on the team are required to be at an advanced level of accident certification through the State of Nebraska or to have completed equivalent training. Our current team has four members that are Certified Accident Reconstructionists. Other members have accident investigation training that is specialized to certain areas i.e. Crash Data Retrieval, Motorcycle Crash Investigation, Grade Crossing Accident Investigation, and Accident Diagramming Software.
All of the equipment that is used by our Crash Investigation Team has been acquired by grants from the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety and the Nebraska Department of Roads.
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DRUG RECOGNITION EXPERTS
In an effort to remove drug impaired drivers from the roadway the Bellevue Police Department uses Drug Recognition Experts as part of the Uniformed Patrol. A Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) is a law enforcement officer trained to recognize impairment in drivers under the influence of drugs other than, or in addition to, alcohol. DRE’s are also utilized within the school system to identify students under the influence of drugs.
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The K9s and their handlers undergo constant training to maintain a high level of excellence and to ensure that when they are called upon, both the handler and the K9 have the training, experience, and expertise to meet even the most challenging of assignments. Often just the presence of the K9 unit is sufficient to bring a situation under control.
K9 Teams are able to detect marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin - all base odors and derivatives. This training is job related to actual work conditions and scenario-based training.
K9 Teams are trained and certified for apprehension, detection, tracking, evidence recovery and officer protection. All K9 teams are currently SWAT-Dog certified. This is specialized tactical training for the location and apprehension of high-risk suspects.
The unit currently trains one day a week for 10 hours along with 1 hour on-duty time during their shift.
The unit re-certifies yearly through the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center.
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The Bellevue Police Department’s motorcycle unit was established in 1994 with one rider and one motorcycle. The motor unit grew from one rider to two riders in 2001. The current motorcycle unit has six full time riders.
The motorcycle unit is assigned several different tasks within the department including special events, traffic control, dignitary escort, general escort duties and traffic enforcement. The motorcycle unit is operational from approximately March 15th until December 15th yearly, weather permitting. The motor unit is assigned city-wide and works all types of complaints.
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SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS
The Bellevue Police Department assigns a School Resource Officer (SRO) to each of Bellevue’s middle and high schools to work with students, parents, teachers and school administrators to enhance the safety of the school environment.
Some of the SRO's time is spent solving minor problems, such as thefts, vandalism, disruptive students and traffic enforcement around the schools. SROs also handle more serious matters, such as identifying distraught students, assisting in emergency action plans for working fires and tornado warnings, and other events.
Officers also teach classes on topics such as drug awareness, criminal law, the U.S. Constitution and gang resistance at the middle schools. Having officers in the schools is also a great help to the police department's regular field units, as the field units are able to remain available to handle other calls for service in their patrol districts.
Most of the SROs work, however, is devoted to police interaction with the students. Many of the students will talk to our officers about their personal problems more than with anyone else. SROs are encouraged to be role models and mentors and they certainly contribute to a positive learning environment.
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SPECIAL WEAPONS AND TACTICS TEAM (SWAT)
The Bellevue Police Department participates in the South Metro Area SWAT team. A highly trained police unit designed to act as a single tactical team in conjunction with other emergency service operations during high risk situations.
The SWAT Team’s primary mission is to respond to incidents such as barricaded persons or hostage situations that require the special skills and training of the team. In addition, officers of the SWAT Team become involved in such high risk activities as:
The SWAT Team is composed of over 30 officers who have regular departmental duties in addition to their SWAT assignment. SWAT officers constantly train and must be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Each member on the team possesses above average firearms proficiency, physical and mental fitness, dependability, and discipline. Officers interested in serving in the SWAT Team must have a minimum of three years experience with the department and be in excellent physical condition. They must demonstrate high proficiency with department issued firearms and have a good departmental performance record.
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TACTICAL NEGOTIATION UNIT
The purpose of the Tactical Negotiation Unit (TNU) is to successfully resolve, through the use of negotiation techniques, situations involving barricaded gunmen, suicidal subjects, or hostage takers. Nationally, 87% of all negotiation incidents involve individuals who have not taken any hostages, but who are in a state of acute personal crisis. The negotiator’s task is to listen and support the subject and persuade him or her to accept help to deal with the personal problems that seem overwhelming. A negotiator has been successful if the individual relinquishes his weapons, comes out from the barricade or concealment, and meets with officers who can transport the subject to the appropriate authorities.
The Tactical Negotiation Unit is comprised of highly-trained police officers who are well-equipped. The Unit is separate from, but works closely with, the SWAT Team. In most incidents in which the SWAT Team is deployed, the negotiation unit will also respond. A police commander of lieutenant rank or above is the unit commander and oversees the unit’s operations during a call-out. This TNU commander reports directly to the Incident Commander or the Chief of Police where the incident is occurring, and maintains constant communication with the SWAT commander.
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