47% of women surveyed at LPD say they’ve experienced discrimination

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and other city officials on Thursday shared the results of the an assessment of the workplace at the Lincoln Police Department.

Female employees were asked whether they experienced any sex discrimination.

Of the 34 women at LPD who took part in a survey, 47% of them said they had, while 53% said they hadn’t. Twenty-six women did not answer the question. 

The results come after a series of lawsuits against LPD from former workers alleging sexual assault and harassment.

The assessment was begun by 21st Century Policing Solutions in February 2021 and involved focus groups and anonymous surveys within the department.

Barb McIntyre, the Lincoln-Lancaster County human resources director, said this assessment opened an avenue for employees’ voices to be heard.

“Having people feel safe at work is a high priority, and we take these situations very seriously,” McIntyre said. “Our employees are able to raise sensitive topics in a safe environment which ensures that leadership receives honest and sometimes difficult feedback.”

Chief Teresa Ewins, who was appointed in August 2021, said she understands the concerns.

“I understand the complaints; I understand the input from our members, which is ongoing,” she said. “This confirms what it is that we were feeling, but also brought some good other eyes to the conversation.”

Officials with 21st Century Policing Solutions said there were also concerns about recruitment and turnover rate, difficulties with work-life balance, low morale and complaints of unfairness and a lack of transparency when considering promotions.

Ewins said that in order to address the promotions complaint, the police department will change its selection process for specialized units to provide more transparency and eliminate favoritism.

The mayor praised the police department’s work over the past few years in reducing crime in Lincoln, and she said this survey should set the groundwork for improvement.

“I’m really pleased with what this report provides us with because it’s shaped and influenced and informed by actual experiences of people in the department,” she said. “They’ve given us actionable recommendations that should provide systemic improvements in our workplace processes.”

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