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Supreme Court Recognition Program

Outstanding Probation Employee (Jean Miller Memorial Award for Probation Support Staff)

Debi Hazy, Senior Secretary, District 12 Probation in Sidney. Ms. Hazy began working for Nebraska State Probation in 1998 in the Sidney office. Over the years she has spent hours attempting to help ferret out the issues or inconsistencies throughout the installation of the new information management system (NPACS). She continues to play an integral part in clerical meetings to help establish processes that are vital to the efficiency of her district. Her exceptional knowledge with reference to old information management system (NPMIS) and her ability to “think out of the box” are very useful to the district as well as the State.

Outstanding Probation Officer (LaDonna Snell Probation Officer Award)

Rick DeKlotz, Senior Probation Officer, District 1 Probation in Falls City.  Rick is a veteran probation officer with thirty years of experience. Rick has served for many years as a Case Management Classification trainer, and is currently a member of the District Evidence-Based Practices Implementation Team. He also serves as the resident specialist in the areas of Interstate Compact matters and Case Management of Sex Offenders. Rick is described as one of those rare individuals who always gives constructive and valuable input on ways to improve the overall work product at both the district and state levels. He is a team player and has a genuine concern for the future of the Nebraska State Probation system.

Outstanding Court Supervisor / Administrative Employee

Lori Miskimins, Clerk Magistrate, Dawes County Court. As a committed, hard-working employee, she is methodical in performing her tasks and is always available to assist her staff in all areas. Her staff describes her as honest, dependable, knowledgeable and an excellent role model. Lori has been instrumental in coordinating the scheduling of one courtroom between the district judge and the county judge, has established a very efficient filing system and has successfully moved the office recently. Lori Miskimins is an asset to the Dawes County Court and the Nebraska County Court system. 

Outstanding Trial or Appellate Court Employee

Kris Riekenberg, Official Court Reporter for Judge Korslund. In addition to her regular court schedule, she has voluntarily taken on additional duties. She has assisted Judge Johnson after the resignation of the judge’s reporter and has covered for Judge Korslund’s bailiff during her illness. Kris consistently is willing to go above and beyond her duties. She is always professional, personable, and is a genuine asset to the court system.

Outstanding Probation Supervisor (Bob Keller Memorial Award for Probation Supervisor)

Shane Stutzman, Chief Deputy Probation Officer, District 5 Probation in York. Ms. Stutzman has been a long-time dedicated probation employee. She has served on several committee positions and has volunteered for special projects. She serves on the Training Committee and the Blended Officer Subcommittee. She is a Nebraska Adult Probation Trainer, Colors Trainer and Sex Offender Specialist. In addition to her Chief Deputy duties, she is District #5’s “go to” person for Evidence-Based Practices presentations. Shane Stutzman is a leader, trainer, coach, mentor, and friend to her staff and to the system.

Outstanding Customer Service Award

Darla Schiefelbein, Clerk Magistrate, Platte County, and Kathleen Hein, Records Clerk, Platte County (co-recipients). The Platte County Court has received many compliments regarding the helpfulness and sensitivity of Darla Schiefelbein and Kathleen Hein. Most recently, Kathleen and Darla took it upon themselves to develop a better method for their court to ensure that funds held by conservators are protected. They recognized the lack of timely filing of required reports. They made suggestions and implemented changes that now give them the opportunity to better examine the reports and to clarify any problem areas. To assist with the implementation process, Darla and Kathleen arranged to meet with local attorneys to get their input and explain why the changes were being suggested. All of these attorneys agreed that the changes were a good idea.

Darla and Kathleen have been observed frequently with customers showing exceptional patience, sometimes answering the same question three or four times. Together they work to improve customer service in the Platte County Court.

Innovation Award

Sheryl Connolly, Trial Court Services Director, Administrative Office of the Courts. Sheryl receives this award for her work in developing and implementing the on-call interpreter program. Interpreter expenses are a major expense in the judicial branch. The on-call program has been a significant factor in the reduction of interpreter expenditures during FY09-10. Many favorable comments have been received regarding this program.

Outstanding Team

JUSTICE Team, Administrative Office of the Courts (members include JUSTICE Senior Business Analysts Sherri Dennis, Kristi Kreuscher, Paula Crouse, and Gretchen Wiebe; Business Analysts Sue Nieto, Laurayne Hall and Leigh Thomas; Deputy Administrator Bill Miller). The JUSTICE Team provides support for the JUSTICE system used in 185 Nebraska trial courts. They are the voices of the help desk providing assistance daily to court staff and judges across the state. The magnitude of the JUSTICE system’s contribution to court efficiency is enormous. In addition to their help desk work, the business analysts provide training to court users, participate in Webinars and ReadyTalk presentations and provide written updates to the courts when changes to JUSTICE are made. They also review new legislation to determine how it will be integrated in to JUSTICE, work with programmers to design and test updates, contribute to development of procedural manuals and install and support digital recording systems. In addition to the ongoing support duties, the team has taken on several major projects. A few of these include: the conversion of Douglas County District Court to the JUSTICE system, payment of judgments and fines through the internet, developing electronic filing which is now available in all county courts and all but one district court, and the creation of a virtual “signing desk” which allows judges to review, sign and process default judgments online. In the first six months, 30,000 motions for default judgment were processed using this application. These accomplishments and ongoing work of this team speak for themselves.

Employee of the Year

Dave Cote, Drug Technician, District 2 Probation in Papillion. Mr. Cote has been in his position for almost four years. Drug technicians have one of the toughest jobs in the probation system. In addition to his regular duties, Dave agreed to help streamline Probation’s drug testing labs from nine in the state to one. As a result, Dave is now responsible for not only the testing in his district, but is also responsible for retesting drug samples for the entire state when requested to do so. Dave also agreed to expand his workload when a new type of drug test was discovered that would be better at detecting past alcohol abuse. Dave accepted the entire workload of this expanded program without hesitation. Dave is always coming up with ideas of how probationers can be better served in the drug testing world and innovative ways to save money.