‘Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity’ A Look Back at FBI Shows Changing Targets 10/19/18 10/22/18 8:56:09 PM
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The FBI Omaha Division is now housed off 121st and I Streets.
‘Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity’
A Look Back at FBI Shows Changing Targets
By Andy Roberts
The Daily Record
One of the world’s great police organizations marked 110 years of service this summer, and its contributions are worth taking time to note. Founded in 1908, it wasn’t long before the FBI established a presence in Omaha.
“The FBI Omaha Division can trace its roots back to the first decade,” Special Agent in Charge Randy Thysse said.
Since that time, the accomplishments of the FBI are many.
The work, without a doubt, has changed. Yet, in many ways, it remains the same. Thysse said the Omaha office
has played a key role in FBI history.
“In July 1953, Omaha agents arrested their first Ten Most Wanted fugitive when they tracked down Fleet Robert Current,” Thysse said. “Current was wanted for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution for robbery.”
That was not the last high-profile case for the agency, which is charged with doing its work in Nebraska and Iowa.
“In 1960, the division nabbed its second Top Tenner, locating the wanted murderer Smith G. Hudson, who was hiding out as a farmhand on a property near Cozad, Nebraska,” Thysse said.
Times and crimes have changed.
While many cases maintain ties to the past, today’s FBI operates where the offenses are committed in a digital world and instantly cross state lines and even international borders.
Thysse emphasized that one thing hasn’t changed and that is the FBI’s “rigorous adherence to the Constitution and the rule of law.”
He also stressed that the Bureau’s guiding principals remain in its motto: “Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity.”
It was July of 1908 when then-Attorney General Charles J. Bonaparte founded what was first known as the Bureau of Investigation. Starting with just 34 special agents, it was renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935 when the legendary J. Edgar Hoover assumed the top slot, a position he held until his death in 1972.
The FBI now employs nearly 37,000 individuals with more than 13,500 of them special agents. It has 56 field offices with sub-offices worldwide.
Thysse acknowledged the division’s investigations have grown in terms of caseload and complexity. During the 1970s, airline hijackings became a concern and the division handled several such cases. Drug dealing has been a long-time focus of the Bureau.
“In 1982, FBI Omaha initiated a major undercover investigation called Operation Zookeeper, targeting a key cocaine distribution network in the Omaha metropolitan area,” Thysse said. “The next year, a federal grand jury indicted 43 individuals, many of them members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle gang.”
Fifteen gang members had pleaded guilty by the end of the year. Many of the others who had been charged later were convicted.
The FBI wasn’t done. The next year, the Omaha division busted a plot by Kansas City’s Civella crime family to expand its illegal gambling operations into the Omaha metro area.
Thysse acknowledged it helps to have a tremendous working relationship with other law enforcement agencies at the state and local levels.
“We would not be able to do what we do and be as effective as we are without the support and collaborative relationships we have with them,” Thysse said.
Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer agreed in a statement.
“I want to acknowledge and thank the local FBI on their 110th Anniversary,” he said. “Every time I have reached out to the FBI for assistance, the Omaha Police Department has received a response that has been tangible and impressive.
The City of Omaha looks to the Omaha Police Department to keep them safe. When we need high-level assistance,
we look to the FBI. Thank you for helping us keep Omaha safe.”
While the Bureau’s focus today includes past concerns and new issues, it has a “very specific” list of criminal activities it investigates.
“We focus on public corruption, civil rights, cyber threats, international and domestic terrorism, counterintelligence,
white collar crimes and violent crimes,” Thysse said. “The FBI is uniquely situated, as are other law enforcement agencies, in that they are striving to ensure that criminal organizations and all facets of criminal activity are mitigated and ceased.”
That means the FBI is constantly recruiting qualified individuals who want to make a career out of stopping
and helping to prosecute those organizations.
“We are looking for the best and the brightest to join our ranks and help us fulfill this mission,” Thysse said. “We are looking for individuals with a drive to do something more. We want those who want to serve their country and support the mission
of the FBI.
“Those looking to serve should simply contact us.”
The agency has a remarkable past – 100-plus years of history – and those who want to be part of its future can look into that at www.fbijobs.gov .
“We have an exceptional recruiter that can answer questions and provide guidance on preparing and working for the FBI,” Thysse said.