More contraband has been confiscated as a result of a day-long, highly coordinated, multi-agency search of the Nebraska State Penitentiary.
Members of the Nebraska State Patrol and Lincoln Police Department (LPD) joined staff members from the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) in an operation that was “more than a month in the planning,” said Director Scott R. Frakes.
“This was a first-of-its-kind operation for Nebraska’s prison system. It has been kept under wraps for weeks,” he added. “It had to be, otherwise, the effectiveness would have been completely compromised.”
The latest sweep of the penitentiary yielded has already yielded drugs and some homemade weapons.
“I said we would be taking a no-holds-barred approach, and I was serious.” Frakes said.
Several teams, consisting of investigators, SWAT members, K-9 units and other law enforcement specialists entered the facility promptly at 6:00 a.m. In addition to the LPD and State Patrol, staff members at the penitentiary and members of NDCS’s Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT) and the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) took part in the searches. Outside of the normal staff contingent, more than 100 people were involved.
“We also had specially trained K-9 dogs from an outside organization on site to expedite the process,” noted Director Frakes. “In terms of personnel from outside NDCS, we had nearly 40 additional individuals -- all bringing their expertise and law enforcement technology to bare.”
Inmates and staff members were notified that the penitentiary was going on lockdown, around 4:30 a.m. The facility is expected to return to normal operations by the end of the day.
“This was a completely strategic operation and well thought out,” explained Director Frakes. “The inspector general (for the Nebraska Correctional System) has been critical over the last few days, implying that the search of the penitentiary on September 4th was incomplete. Today’s larger operation was always part of a bigger plan.”
Director Frakes said entering into a partnership with other law enforcement agencies in order to conduct an intensive search of the penitentiary had been in the works for weeks – the second in a structured offensive to rid the facility of contraband.
“We are all part of the criminal justice system and sharing of information and best practices pays off in dividends. What happens inside our institutions impacts what is happening on the street and vice-versa. Involving other agencies is just a natural evolution in the practice of corrections.”
Director Frakes said details about which areas were searched or not searched at the state penitentiary would remain under wraps. “Revealing information about how the searches were conducted or the technology used would be counterintuitive. I want to be able to rely on these resources again.”
The director also expressed his appreciation to Colonel John Bolduc of the State Patrol and to Chief Jeff Bliemeister of LPD for providing the personnel to make today’s exercise possible. “This would not have been possible without the strong support of those agencies. There was never any hesitation when they were asked to take part. I appreciate that they immediately understood the need and benefit of such an operation.”