LPD has made several changes since George Floyd murder

In the past year, the Lincoln Police Department has made several changes, including banning chokeholds, diversity training, and community outreach.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Following last summer’s clashes with law enforcement, many in Lincoln were calling for change.

The Lincoln Police Department vowed to listen to those calls, launching a review of its policies.

Foremost among the demands from the community – banning chokeholds by officers.

While chokeholds had been prohibited by LPD for years, former police chief Jeff Bliemeister told Channel 8 in an interview last October that the department wanted to do more – changing the language of the policy to leave no doubt.

“They have been banned,” Bliemeister said. “Now they’re explicitly banned, and the only time that a Lincoln police officer can use a chokehold is if they are faced with a life-or-death situation.”

Another change was the launch of the TRACE initiative– a partnership between LPD and the Malone Center to help build trust with the people of Lincoln.

Additional sub–committees were formed to provide checks on the department on everything from the language used in police policy, to training, investigations and community outreach.

The “Hold Cops Accountable” group was also formed, which facilitated town halls where residents could speak to the committee about policing.

Other changes include the creation of a specialized recruitment officer, a position responsible for improving LPD’s diversity in hiring.

The department also says it has added diversity, equity and inclusion training, some of which occurs monthly.

In December, LPD released a six–month review of the protests and riots.

The department looked into 38 use-of-control incidents.

In that review, only one officer was disciplined for not following proper training, after firing a non–lethal weapon at someone who was launching fireworks at officers.

Looking forward, the department is also changing dispatch practices about suspicious person calls to help cut down unwarranted contacts by officers.

It has also added criteria beyond what is required by state law regarding reasons for traffic stops.

Finally, with the pandemic beginning to fade, LPD says officers are resuming their normal community engagement efforts, like neighborhood block parties and “Pop with a Cop.”

LPD’s current administration was unavailable for an interview on this story, but sent a list of changes the department has implemented.

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