City of Lincoln
2009 Media Releases
Mayor Chris Beutler today announced that the City will accept $679,136 in federal stimulus funds to hire four full-time Police Officers. The U.S. Department of Justice COPS Office announced last week that Lincoln will receive part of the $1 billion awarded nationwide through the COPS Hiring Recovery Program.
"This community has identified safety and security as the top priority for City government, " Mayor Beutler said. "But the budget has not always allowed us to increase our police force as our City has continued to grow in size and population. With the federal COPS program, we will be in a much better position to finance our future law enforcement needs."
The grants provide 100-percent funding for salaries for three years. The City is required to fund the position for at least one year beyond that. Before accepting the grant, Beutler said the City examined the need for police officers and the additional costs in the future. Lincoln has a low crime rate, down 13 percent from last year. But response time has risen from 3.6 minutes in 2006 to 4.1 minutes in 2008, a 12 percent increase.
"We should not add police to the force because it is popular with the public or because it is good politics," Beutler said. "We should add police because we have a need to be addressed. After looking at the facts, I am strongly convinced that keeping Lincoln a safe, low-crime community requires us to add to our police force."
The Mayor said the COPS grant process was very competitive. Only 14.3 percent of the agencies that applied received this grant funding, and the Mayor congratulated the Police Department for its successful proposal.
Police Chief Tom Casady said the grant was awarded just before the start of an academy class, so three of the four officers funded begin their training today as part of a class of 13 recruits. The remaining funded position will be filled from the academy class that begins in January.
"We are delighted, in this difficult economic period, to be able to add police officers," Casady said. "Four officers will help us keep up with Lincoln's population growth, and continue to provide the quality services that promote a safe and secure community."
The City last accepted a COPS grant in the 2004-2005 fiscal year when 2 officers were hired, bringing the total force to 317.
Four other Nebraska agencies were awarded funding: the Beatrice Police Department, the City of Omaha, the Dawson County Law Enforcement Center and the Omaha Tribe Police Department. More information is available at www.cops.usdoj.gov.