This article discusses the Lamplighter Project officially naming Sergeant Angela Sands (Lincoln Police Department, Lincoln, NE) as the recipient of the 2023 Lamplighter Award for Moral Courage in Law Enforcement and was originally published by the Lincoln Journal Star.
By Lori Pilger, August 25th, 2023 (originally published here)
Fired Lincoln police sergeant recognized by national whistleblower group
A former Lincoln police sergeant who sued the department alleging she was fired for reporting sexual harassment and discrimination has been named the 2023 recipient of the Lamplighter Award for Moral Courage in Law Enforcement.
In a press release, The Lamplighter Project, a whistleblower organization, said Angela Sands “brought to public light an appalling history (and current culture) of sexual misconduct, including harassment and rape, at the Lincoln Police Department."
The organization said Sands made the courageous decision to go to the mayor about LPD’s sexual misconduct issues, inspiring other officers to come forward and tell their stories of having suffered sexual misconduct. She later was terminated in December 2021, "a fate which has befallen several other LPD officers who dared to speak up about harassment, discrimination and sexual misconduct," the group said.
Earlier this year, Sands sued the city alleging unlawful sex discrimination and retaliation for reporting it.
In a ruling Thursday, District Judge David Bargen denied the city's motion to dismiss her complaint, saying she "alleges sufficient facts of sex discrimination to withstand a motion to dismiss."
In an email Friday from her attorney, Sands said she was honored and humbled by the recognition.
"This award is really for every Lincoln police and fire staff member who has suffered on the job when they should’ve been protected by their leadership. While there is rightful attention to law enforcement officers who abuse their position, they aren’t all of us. There are countless officers who are acting courageously day in and day out to protect our communities, bring injustice to light and do the right thing," she said.
Sands said true courage seeks the benefit of all, no matter the cost, and thanked those who have supported her.
The award is given annually on National Whistleblower Day to a sworn or civilian member of law enforcement for acts of moral courage against corruption, injustice or misconduct in the criminal justice system. Acting Police Chief Michon Morrow said LPD and the City of Lincoln are committed to ensuring a fair and equitable workplace, free from discrimination and harassment.
“We have strong policies in place that prohibit misconduct, to include criminal actions, discrimination, and harassment. We remain committed to continuous improvement that includes providing training, professional development, and ongoing assessment of our staff and policies to maintain a culture of excellence,” she said Friday.
Former LPD officer speaks about discrimination settlement at a Lincoln City Council meeting on Dec. 13, 2021.