EXCLUSIVE: Getting to know Lincoln’s new police chief

10/11 NOW at 6
Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 7:11 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - She’s wrapping up her first two weeks on the job as the top cop in a brand new city and a brand new part of the country. On Friday, 10/11 NOW’s Kelsie Passolt sat down with Lincoln Police Chief Teresa Ewins to learn more about her and what brought her to the Capital City.

Kelsie: “Let’s start off, if you could tell people about yourself, where you’re from, what cities you’ve worked in?”

Chief Ewins: “The 26 years I was in San Francisco working for the police department, I lived in Oakland for 17 years and more recently in San Francisco for about 5 years. I have always worked very hard, worked in every area of this profession. I still love my job. I was a soccer player, on a more personal note, and that really got me through both school as well as life.”

Kelsie: “What drew you to police work?”

Chief Ewins: “When I was a young, a police officer came to my school and I really loved what he had to say about helping people. I wasn’t a good student. I had a learning disability and when he came to the school, the idea of not sitting behind a desk was nice. The attraction was really helping people overall.”

Kelsie: “Why now, at this point in your career, did you want to leave the West Coast, a place you’d been for so long, and move to the middle of the country?”

Chief Ewins: “This opportunity came up. It wasn’t expected. I liked what Lincoln was about and what people were saying about it. The fact that a majority of the police department was born and raised in Lincoln says a lot about the department and the city. Obviously, the mayor was a strong part of that. What she had to say and how she approached the process, I really thought was fair and I really enjoyed the process and I learned a lot about Lincoln. Obviously the last couple of years, this profession has had very tough love, so to speak, and we have to raise the bar. We have to be better. I don’t want to leave this profession without handing off and improving. Lincoln has everything it needs to raise that bar. From technology to training, they do all of the things that I didn’t expect them to have already done for being a smaller city, but they have.”

Kelsie: “What does it mean to you to be the first female police chief of the Lincoln Police Department?”

Chief Ewins: “It’s exciting. I know what it means and I don’t take that lightly. Women in law enforcement, unfortunately, are not where it should be. I hope women understand that they can do anything, young or old, you can do anything you want, it doesn’t matter about your gender.”

Kelsie: “Switching gears to some lighter questions. First of all, are you a Huskers fan yet?”

Chief Ewins: “I watched USA Volleyball, the women’s team, I was amazed at how many former players that they had and how incredible they are as athletes. Football, I have hope. I’ve talked to other Huskers fans who think it’ll be horrible season, but I don’t believe it.”

Kelsie: “Have you tried a Runza sandwich yet?”

Chief Ewins: “The mayor promised me a Runza sandwich... I brought her chocolate, I get a Runza sandwich.”

There’s even more to 10/11 NOW’s conversation with Chief Ewins. A public survey was taken at the beginning of this year to find out what people want in the city’s next police chief. We ask her about those results in Part 2 of this interview, which will air Sunday on 10/11 NOW at 10 p.m.

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