Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird today announced she will use annual savings in the Lincoln Police Department (LPD) budget to hire six new officers. The savings include funds allocated for the salary of the Public Safety Director Tom Casady, who recently retired. Because the Public Safety Director position is not being filled, the LPD force will be increased by five.
These new officers will replace six veterans, and five of those veterans will take on new roles as investigators for each of the five geographic teams. The addition of Team Investigators was identified as a priority by a diverse internal working group of LPD employees. The sixth veteran officer will be dedicated to preventing child abuse and child sexual assault as well as children being trafficked while outside the care of their families.
"While our community's low crime rate and sense of security are a point of pride, Lincoln's growth brings with it growth in the demands placed on our police officers," said Mayor Gaylor Baird. "These new positions are an important step toward creating better working conditions for our officers as well as creating a safer community."
Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister and Lincoln Police Union representatives said they support the plan to add officers.
"Mayor Gaylor Baird has demonstrated her commitment to making public safety a priority with this investment in critical personnel," Bliemeister said. "While Lincoln is a safe city, we must continue to bolster our ranks as the city grows."
"The safety of our community is the highest priority for members of the Lincoln Police Union," said Max Hubka, Union Treasurer. "Over the past few years, the increases in workload placed upon Lincoln Police officers has far outpaced increases in staffing levels. The addition of these new positions is positive progress towards addressing these issues and will aid us in continuing to deliver an extremely efficient and high-quality product to the citizens we serve."
The new officers are scheduled to be hired in January 2020. The Team Investigators will require academy and field training and are expected to be ready for their new assignments in November 2020.
LPD currently has 150 civilian and 345 non-civilian employees. Information on the Lincoln Police Department is available at police.lincoln.ne.gov.