2016 Award Winners
2016 Award Winners
Don Kleine - 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
Donald W. Kleine was elected Douglas County attorney in November of 2006, and he was re-elected to this post in November, 2010 and again in 2014. From 2003 to 2006 he served as chief of the criminal bureau with the Nebraska Department of Justice. Prior to 2003, he served as the chief deputy Douglas County attorney. In his years of service as a prosecutor, Mr. Kleine has tried many high profile criminal cases for Douglas County, such as State v. Christopher Edwards, which was the first jury trial in Nebraska where a murder conviction was obtained without the victim’s body; State v. Roy Ellis, wherein after missing for six months, the body of 12 year old Amber Harris was found buried in Hummel Park; and State v. Arthur Lee Gales wherein Gales was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of children Latara and Tramar Chandler. Most recently he handled the trial of Tracy Parnell in the shooting death of 16 year old Arianna Carr. He has also had convictions on several serial rapists in Douglas County.
Mr. Kleine is on the faculty at the Creighton University School of Law where he teaches trial practice and criminal prosecution. He serves on the board of directors for Project Harmony, (the Omaha metro area Child Advocacy Center), the Nebraska Supreme Court subcommittee on Criminal Jury Instructions, and is a member of the board of directors of the Nebraska County Attorney’s Association of which he is a past president. He is also on the National District Attorney’s Association national board of directors and he is on the advisory board for Nebraska Organ Recovery. He has also been named a fellow in the prestigious American College of Trial Attorneys.
Prior to becoming chief deputy county attorney in 1991, he was in private practice with an emphasis on civil litigation and criminal defense. He graduated from Creighton University School of Law in 1977. Don and his wife Kim have three children and four grandchildren.
Dick Shea - 2016 Distinguished Service Award Winner (posthumously)
Dick Shea began working with the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Department as a volunteer in 1975 as the department chaplain. In 1990, he was hired by Sheriff Pat Thomas to work in the area of juvenile services and was the division commander and director of the Juvenile Services Division for 25 years. Prior to beginning his career in juvenile services, Mr. Shea worked in the education field for 21 years, including serving six years as the principal of Gross Catholic High School.
While employed with Sarpy County, Mr. Shea created and implemented the home-based supervision program known as Children At Risk Education or C.A.R.E. Program. The purpose of the program was to monitor and mentor at-risk youth via electronic monitoring and in-home visits. The program started very small with no more than a dozen juveniles on electronic monitoring. Today, the C.A.R.E. Program services approximately 65 juveniles per day.
The Patrick J. Thomas Juvenile Justice Center (JJC) opened in 2003 housing up to 36 youth in a staff-secure detention center. Under the remarkable and steadfast leadership of Mr. Shea, the JJC expanded its mission by offering programs for at-risk youth such as an education center, an alternative school, day and evening reporting centers, a truancy program, and a tracker program.
Mr. Shea was a member of the National Juvenile Detention Association, SAFE Policy Committee, Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee, and the coordinator of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) in Sarpy County. In 2014, he was the recipient of the Pat Kelly Award. Mr. Shea was committed to providing structure to youth until his death on September 22, 2015.
Teela Mickles - 2016 Outstanding Community Service Award Winner
Teela A. Mickles is the founder and CEO of Compassion In Action (CIA) Inc., a faith based, nonprofit organization that works with individuals confined in the correctional system and families affected by incarceration. CIA was originally designed for women, their children and the caregivers of their children in 1994. In 2005, CIA partnered with the Department of Correctional Services to provide pre-release education/reentry preparation for men and women through their Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative and added youth confined to the CIA program in 2010.
CIA recently relocated to the former Wesley House in north Omaha to expand their services and include prevention in their programming. The RAW DAWGS Youth Corps Gang Prevention Program is a military-type incentive program for boys ages 5 to 13. It provides alternatives to gang membership through positive, personal validation, breaking the cycle from cradle to crime.
Ms. Mickles attended college late in life to accommodate the development of her program and holds a degree in chemical dependency counseling. She is a certified minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and has served in the community for more than 30 years with a focus on family restoration, utilizing a strong emphasis on spirituality. Ms. Mickles has been acknowledged for her services and accomplishments in the community over the years from different entities, including being awarded the UNO Woman of Color Award, African American Leadership Award, Heartland Family Services’ Family Advocacy Award, Portraits of Excellence, Omaha 360 Peace Champion Award, City of Omaha Community of Excellence Award and the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services Partnership Award for 2013.
Ms. Mickles is in the process of writing two books. The first, entitled Because God Cares, is her life story. The second, entitled The Face of an Inmate, centers on the lives of the people her program has touched.
Phil Ni He, Ph.D. - 2016 Alumni Achievement Award Winner
Professor He received his law degree (LL.B.) from Xiamen University (China) in 1988 and his Ph.D. in criminal justice from the University of Nebraska-Omaha (1997). He is a tenured faculty member at Northeastern University, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice (Boston, MA). A former associate dean for the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, he currently serves as the associate vice-provost for graduate education at Northeastern University. He was the recipient of the Professor Robert Sheehan Excellence in Teaching Award from the College of Criminal Justice at Northeastern University in 2008.
Professor He’s primary teaching and research interests include policing, comparative criminology, Chinese criminal trials, and quantitative methods. He was the principal investigator for the U.S. portion of the 30-nation International Self-report Delinquency Study funded by the National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice (2006-2008). He has been heavily involved in the rule of law reform related projects in China, sponsored by the Ford and the MacArthur Foundations. He served as the principal investigator for a two-year pilot project funded by the MacArthur Foundation (2009-2011) to study legal representation and criminal processing in Chinese lower criminal courts. He is the author of three books: Reinventing the Wheel: Marx, Durkheim and Comparative Criminology (1999), Policing in Finland (2006), Chinese Criminal Trials: A Comprehensive Empirical Inquiry (2014) and numerous refereed articles in academic journals.
Professor He has served on or is serving on editorial boards of professional journals in the U.S. and abroad, including Justice Quarterly, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Xiamen University Journal (Social Sciences) and Guanghua Law Review. He has been a frequent guest lecturer with the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Professor He is the secretary and treasurer for the Division of International Criminology (2016-2017), American Society of Criminology, a member of the Presidium for the Asian Criminological Society, and a member of the Council for Chinese American Deans and Presidents.
Leigh Culver, Ph,D. - 2016 Rising Star Achievement Award Winner
Leigh Culver, Ph.D. earned her doctorate degree in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2002. Her dissertation focused on the impact new immigration patterns had on the provision of police services in Midwestern communities. Upon completion of her education, Dr. Culver joined the Omaha Police Department.
She currently serves as an instructor for the OPD Training Academy where she trains new recruits and conducts in-service training for current officers. Additionally, she is a firearms instructor, a CPR instructor, and she coordinates and provides instruction for the Crisis Intervention Team, where officers learn how to successfully interact with mentally ill citizens in crisis. Officer Culver is also an active member of the Omaha Police Department Honor Guard.