As a police officer, Columbus Police Department Capt. Doug Molczyk oversees community support technicians, animal control, buildings/properties, records and internal affairs.
But, as a family man, educator and pillar of the community, Molczyk is also known for dedicating his time and energy into making the City of Columbus a better place.
ON THE FORCE
Originally from a village in southeastern Nebraska called Western, Molczyk made the decision to pursue a career in law enforcement when he was just in high school.
“It’s one of those things where it seemed to be the right thing to pursue,” he noted. “I’d like to say there was a profound reason, but there wasn’t a reason. It was just I felt inspired to do that.”
Molczyk received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Kearney State College. That's also where he met his wife, Linette.
“I graduated one day and got married the next day. We had a graduation then a wedding ceremony,” Molczyk said. “It was a busy weekend.”
Molczyk was hired by the Columbus Police Department and started what has now become a 31-year-long career in 1989. He’s had a unique career, having started out as a patrol officer and then moving into criminal investigations. Molczyk then worked as an undercover drug investigator, which he did for most of his time with the department. He was then promoted to sergeant and went back on the road as a patrol shift leader.
“I was promoted to captain a couple of years ago. I was in charge of the Patrol Division until April and now I’m in charge of the Support Division,” Molczyk said. “The support division encompasses the investigations division, the CSTs – community support technicians, animal control. I’m in charge of the building and properties. I also do the purchasing of all new vehicles and I’m also in charge of internal affairs and records.”
While working in drug investigations, he had the opportunity to go back to school and obtain his master’s degree in forensic science.
“That led me into doing some adjunct faculty work at Central Community College, which I did for a couple of years,” Molczyk said. “I’m going to start teaching again in the fall semester up at CCC part time as adjunct faculty. I’m looking forward to that.”
His accomplishments as a police officer also include working as part of a special team that investigated and dissembled meth labs across the state. As sergeant, he went to the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, which was a three-month-long executive leadership training course.
“That was amazing,” Molczyk said. “I had 260 classmates from 30 different countries and it was an eye-opening experience.”
Being a law enforcement officer has also resulted in Molczyk being involved in some dangerous situations.
“Years ago, I had a contract hit put out on my life – and not just my life, the life of my wife. That was a pretty challenging experience,” he shared. “The gentleman was arrested and is incarcerated.”
The individual had been convicted in 2002 in Platte County of conspiring to murder Molczyk, who had headed a drug investigation that led to a federal indictment, according to Telegram files.
According to Molczyk, there are two qualities an individual must need if he or she is going to be a police officer: empathy and integrity.
"You need to be able to feel what the victim is feeling," he explained. "Your integrity is everything in this line of work. Once you lose that, you aren't a cop."
It’s this varied experience in Molczyk’s career that, according to Columbus Police Chief Chuck Sherer, makes him good at his job.
“Doug is very conscientious,” Sherer said. “With his experience, he’s got the ability to look at a situation, assess various approaches to that situation, applies a plan that will lead in the result of the most success with the least amount of issues.
He’s very good at analyzing plans and getting the best results with the resources that we have.”
Sherer noted that Molczyk led the effort in getting the Columbus Police Department set up with electronic citations, which was mandated by the Nebraska Court Administrator’s Office.
“Some agencies were sitting back and saying, ‘Jeez, how are we going to do this?’” Sherer said. “Doug was instrumental in taking the bull by the horns and knowing what needed to be done, putting the information out there, secured the documentation and funds.”
Molczyk has also proven to be a good role model for patrol officers. His volunteerism in the Columbus community has only further enhanced his duties as an officer, Sherer said.
“He’s a good neighbor, a good person to know, kind-hearted,” Sherer said. “As a police officer, I think he has empathy towards individuals in what may be going on, how things may have brought them to interact with the police department.
"When he was working drug division, there had been numerous individuals who had, not at the time, but after the fact, said that his involvement in that arrest or in that (situation) probably changed their lives for the better. He has the best of intentions when it comes to working with the public and serving the community.”
IN THE COMMUNITY
Although Molczyk has had memorable experiences during his career, he considers his greatest accomplishment his children and grandchildren.
“Well, I’m most proud of my family, of my children. With the help of my wife, we’ve raised great children,” he said.
Molczyk has three children: Jason, an employee at ESU (Educational Service Unit) 7; Caitlin, a student at the University of Nebraska Medical School; and Trenton, a CCC graduate who is employed with Mid-American Energy.
Molczyk was heavily involved with youth activities while his kids were growing up, such as Boy Scouts Troop 2212, the Youth Softball Association and the booster club for the Columbus High School Marching Band. He has also volunteered as a climbing and rappelling instructor at Camp Cedars, a Boy Scout camp. Additionally, the Molczyk family has hosted two foreign exchange students for Rotary International.
“Now that my kids are all grown, I have a little more time on my hands to be a little more involved in things, instead of being involved in youth activities like I was when my kids were growing up,” Molczyk noted.
Currently, he serves on the Columbus Public Schools Board of Education, the board of directors for the Nebraska Police Officers Association, is a board member of Centro Hispano and the board of trustees of the First United Methodist Church in Columbus. He’s also a member of the FBI National Academy Association.
“I’ve enjoyed my time as a school board member and I’m just starting to get my feet wet in the Cento Hispanos board. That’s been a lot of fun,” Molczyk said. “And being on the board of trustees at my church has been rather enjoyable.”
From Molczyk’s point of view, being involved in the community allows him to better understand those that he helps keep safe.
“I believe that being involved in the community gives you an opportunity to understand the community better and give you a voice in change,” he said.
When asked what he does in his free time, Molczyk laughed.
“I’m kind of a workaholic, which my boss will attest to,” he admitted. “But my free time, I spend with my wife of 30-plus years and, when I get the opportunity to, I like to go fishing. I like to be around my grandchildren, I like to be around my family.”
“I’ve had a really good career,” Molczyk said. “I’m happy with where I’ve been and what I’ve done.”
Molczyk’s plans for the future are to continuing doing what he’s doing to the best of his ability.
“At this point in time, I just want to do the best job I can do in the position I am and see where that leads me. Over the years, my goals and priorities have been fixed on where I am at that current time,” Molczyk said. “Now that I’m a support captain, I want to do my best as a support captain. Every different position I’ve held in my career has a different challenge.”
Although he never thought he’d be in a leadership role at a police department, Molczyk enjoys his profession.
“As far as my plans for the future, wherever my career takes me, it takes me.”
Hannah Schrodt is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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