Officer Lavance Reed
Crete Police Department, Nebraska
From SoCal to Crete, Nebraska - What?
Seriously, what brings a southern California boy out to the Midwest? Located smack dab in the middle of the country, part of the breadbasket of America, those unfamiliar with Nebraska may write it off as just another flyover state – and, um, excuse me? Those are fighting words. Beyond the fact that I have family and friends from there, I have also vacationed there for the past 16 years with many joyful memories being created (I have the pics to prove it!). Come on out and partake of some delicious Nebraska kool-aid. Like our friend Lavance, you will not regret it!
We met Officer Lavance Reed with the Crete Police Department in Nebraska on his very first day of patrol – by himself. No senior officer watching over his shoulder, just him, responding to calls and putting to work all the training that both the department and Lavance invested their time and money in.
For Lavance Reed, born and raised in southern California, it all stemmed from a childhood passion. One that has a good portion of the country out sitting in the heat to watch the boys of summer play (except this year, but that is a whole other story…). Lavance had just graduated high school and was playing the last baseball tournament of his childhood career when a coach from Doane College in – yep, you guessed it – Crete, Nebraska, approached him and his team mate to see if they would be interested in joining them that fall to play baseball for them in the spring. The thing was, Lavance was ready to hang up his mitt and move onto other things - his parents had other ideas.
He shared with us that when he and his friend flew into Lincoln, Nebraska for their college visit, they were driven out to the country with cornfields as far as the eye could see – which to be fair, since it was one in the morning, wasn’t very far – and he admitted to being a bit nervous. Country. Dark. Every horror flick was running through his brain, until they got to Doane and drove around. He took in the beautiful landscaping, the brick buildings, the athletic facilities and thought to himself, “Nope.”
When he got home, he told his parents he did not want it, wasn’t going to go and there was nothing they could say that would convince him. They responded by saying he should go; it would be good for him. Like all dutiful children, this reasonable suggestion was what convinced him – HA! Hardly, it was when they threatened to charge him rent that he got mad and to spite them he said, “Fine! I’ll go but you are going to miss me!” Honestly, I absolutely love the teenage brain, cutting off their nose to spite their face. Now, you might think that is the end of it, he went, played ball, got a degree, fell in love with Crete and decided to stay and serve the community as an officer. That would be a pretty package, tied with a bow. We however, like the stories that go a bit sideways but also have a happy ending.
He played ball – for about 18 hours - then quit. To retain his scholarship at Doane he helped with the athletic department by working concessions, keeping stats, etc. He did that for the fall semester and then decided to head home and go to the local junior college. This – this is what did it. He found that the local junior college did not have the smaller class sizes, the professors that know you by name, and the profound interest that Doane takes in the success of each of their students. Lavance had to go back to move forward and a call from the vocal professor was what did the trick.
On the phone Dr. Kurt Runestad said, “You probably do not remember this, but I stuck my head in the room one day when you were playing around on the piano and singing. I would like to invite you back to Doane on a music scholarship.” With the semester of the junior college under his belt, Lavance took the opportunity from Doane and this time, with a positive attitude, headed back to Nebraska and fell in love with the school, the city and the state.
Over the next several years, Lavance would perform with the Doane music program, capping it off with performing in South Africa the summer after graduation. He also managed to squeeze an internship with the local police department in the fall of 2017 before graduating that December with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology with an emphasis in criminology and a minor in communications.
After completing his internship with the Crete PD, he went on to be their Community Service Officer in January 2018 and became a sworn peace officer that October. In Nebraska, officers are sworn in, and some complete a mini-basic training with their agencies before heading off to the academy at the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center. Three and a half months later, they head back to their respective agencies where they continue their Field Training for another three months before being out on their own.
When talking with Lavance about his experience in the academy he said, “It was the most fun that I never want to do again.” He shared how he expected it to be extremely difficult – both physically and mentally - and while he found it incredibly challenging, all the prep work he had done served him well. He credits his classmates with his success, it was the people he was with that made the difference between simply enduring the academy to enjoying the experience.
And that is probably what highlights who Lavance is the most – for him it is the people he is with that makes all the difference. And in Crete – it’s the people that keep him there. While SoCal may have a bit of sunshine and coastline, in Nebraska, it is the band of brothers he has at the PD that grounds him.
But what is it about Lavance that brings people to him? His positive attitude, desire to work as a team or perhaps, it is moments like the one he had at the local Walmart last summer which highlight why we all like him and what makes him an effective police officer:
Facebook Post by Lavance on August 18, 2019,
“Tonight at the beginning of my shift, I went to Walmart to get an energy drink (cause ya boi is tired 24/7)… And on my way in, this mom and little boy, probably around 7 or 8 years old were walking in front of me. The little boy used his imaginary magical powers to open the automatic sliding doors at the entrance. The mom said, “stop pretending you have magic. You look like an idiot in front of this cop” and walked away laughing. On my way out, noticing the same mom and son behind me, I used my magical powers to open the doors. I turned around to the little kid and said, “Hey look! We have the same powers!” Mom just stared at me, kid fist bumped me. We win. Ma’am, you lose.”
Talented baseball player, singer, police officer and wizard – our hats are off to you Officer Reed, thank you for your service.