Grant Funds New Officer Positions

The Lincoln Police Department will be getting a much needed boost.  Thanks to a federal grant, the LPD will hire four new officers within the next year.

Lincoln's population increases by about 3,500 people each year.  That means crime is most likely going to increase.

To keep up with both, more officers are needed.

13 new recruits sat in on their first day of the academy, learning what it takes to become a police officer.

And their timing couldn't get any better.

In two months, the lLPD will be able to employ them of them.  Getting more help couldn't come at a better time for the department as well.

Captain Jim Thoms says, “the dispatcher will call and say 'can you free up some officers to respond to a call in progress?'”

Thanks to a federal COPS grant, the nearly $680,000 will be enough to fund the positions.

One more will be hired from an academy class that begins in January.

The grant covers these salaries 100% for three years.  The city is then required to fund the position for a least one more year after that.

 

Police Chief Tom Casady says adding police officers in proportion to population growth helps them out quite a bit.

The city last accepted a COPS grant in 2005.  That's when two officers were hired, bringing the total number of officers to 317.

Captain Joe Wright says there are not a lot of officers to spare.  “A lot of times, people are waiting when we wouldn't want hem to have to wait.”

Even though crime has dropped in Lincoln by 13% since last year, the department says crime isn't the only thing they deal with on a daily basis.

They're needed at events, for traffic control and spend time doing follow ups and doing pro-active work as well.  And 317 officers doesn't always cut it.

Chief Casady says, “I do not want to be a police chief in a city where the cops simply respond to 911 calls without any time in between to do good work.”

Mayor Beutler says he will make room in the budget for the extra officers after the four years.

Omaha, Beatrice and Dawson County also received some of the federal money for more officers.