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September 11 Reflections

As told by Police Chief Bob Lausten

On 9-11-01, La Vista’s current Police Chief Bob Lausten was a lieutenant. He was in Sioux City along with then officers Bryan Waugh and Jeremy Kinsey attending the first of a three-day “Conspiracy” investigations course at the Sioux City National Guard Air Base.

Law enforcement personnel from all over the region were in attendance.  We were watching the Today Show before class and saw the report that a plane hit the World Trade Center. The instructor started class and at the second break, the news of the second plane hitting the WTC resulted in a number of pagers going off. 

We all knew something wasn’t right.  Several officers immediately left. None of us wanted to leave the TV, but the instructor

incredibly wanted to continue class. There was no way anyone’s attention was in a classroom. Planes at the Air Base began to scramble.  

We made the decision to leave and drive back to La Vista as the class of 30 now had about 10 people left. As we drove south on I-29, F-16s were flying overhead and we saw Air Force One heading to Offutt. 

Upon arriving back in La Vista, the shock of what happened began to set in and attention was given to making sure that law enforcement personnel were available and on patrol.

We wanted to make sure residents knew they were safe.

We deployed a police car to each school. Officers were told, “Let people see you.” We wanted high visibility throughout the City.

The job has most definitely changed since 9/11. Law enforcement is more aware of what is going on around us. The technology has obviously increased since 9/11, but more importantly we have better relationships with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners. If there is another attack, I think America is ready for it. 

Our lives were changed on 9/11 – the law enforcement community is always on alert. It certainly changed my life, and I’m sure it has changed yours, too.

The slogan, “If you see something, say something”, should be part of everyone’s vocabulary.