Otoe County Sheriff—Republican

Creating a greater community outreach for the Otoe County Sheriff's Department is a big priority for Dan Lionberger, one of three Republican candidates on the May 15 primary ballot for the Otoe County Sheriff. The candidate out of the primary that receives the top number of votes will advance to the general election in November to face Colin Caudill, Democrat from Nebraska City.

Lionberger feels the department needs to get deputies more active and involved in the local schools and communities. He stated that he has worked for other offices where "community policing" was really effective. "It helps people know who they are calling and makes people not so hesitant to call," added Lionberger. He feels this is due to the public thinking they don't want to be a problem or a burden to the office or resources, which he says is not true. In resolving this, he would plan to welcome those calls, and do what he can to make people more familiar and comfortable with law enforcement. He would like to build a closer working relationship with the press and schools in order to get the public more involved and informed.

In asking how Lionberger plans to spend his time if elected for Sheriff, he said that the position requires so much responsibility and reliability that as a sheriff he would plan to put forth all the effort he can. "The phone can ring anytime day or night, and the sheriff has to be available for all of that," added Lionberger.

Although Lionberger feels sheriff's office is naturally going to mature and evolve as time goes on, he also thinks technology is something the department will have to take big strides to keep up with. "It is one of the things that is helping law enforcement," said Lionberger.

Lionberger does feel the department is starting to take steps toward technology updates with the new programming the Sheriff's Office currently has. He feels this is making officer response time and dispatching more efficient. "It typically takes a year or two to get things like that up and running smoothly, but those things may get outdated and we have to stay abreast of that technology," said Lionberger.

Additionally, Lionberger was asked how, if elected as sheriff, he would foster an environment that ensures fair treatment of all people that are served by the Otoe County Sheriff's Department. He said feels it is important to assess the department's employees to make sure there is no bias amongst them. "A sheriff needs to do everything they can to train and help employees understand the needs of people that may feel they don't receive equal treatment," added Lionberger. He feels it is pertinent to make sure these people have an open line of communication with law enforcement.

When asked what resources he would use to address the mentally ill population that are in custody and charged with criminal offenses, he said that everyone wants action on the mentally ill. "There's a fine line in violating constitutional rights that the department has to always be aware of," said Lionberger. As a police department, he said they want to protect those peoples' rights, but at the same time protect the safety of the public as well.

Here’s a bit more about the candidate.

Lionberger has lived in Otoe County most of his life. He is a graduate of Lincoln Northeast High School. He is married to Lana Lionberger, who is self-employed as a barbor/stylist and jewlery maker. The couple has 4 children and one grandchild. Their daughters are Carlie Jo, 30, Lauren, 23, and Hannah, 21. Their son is Connor who is 24.

At current, Lionberger is the Sergeant for Otoe County Sheriff's office.

He has been a public servant his whole life, being involved in law enforcement since the early age of 14 where he worked for with Lincoln Police Department through their Explorers program. He became a certified law enforcement officer in 1989. He also had previously worked for Madison County Sheriff Office. Having been a K9 handler since shortly after he started with Otoe County, he is currently handling his third dog. With over 30 years in law enforcement, he has made a network of professional associates that he feels can help with issues that may come up.

Lionberger, who states that he is the only running candidate that is sergeant for the Otoe County Sheriff's Office, is authorized to act as an administrator in the absence of the Chief Deputy and Sheriff. Being the first person to be appointed to the sheriffs office as a Sergeant by current Otoe County Sheriff, Jim Gress, was a huge accomplishment for Lionberger.

He challenges himself to treat everybody with compassion and fairness; in the same way he would expect himself and his family to be treated. Lionberger feels he has come to the point in his professional career where he is ready for this challenge.

For more information, contact Dan Lionberger via email at votelionberger@gmail.com or call him at (402) 890-0998.