- Associated Press - Monday, November 9, 2015

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The chief of the Lincoln Police Department has announced he will step down from his position early next year.

The Lincoln Journal Star (https://bit.ly/1HqV1RT ) reports Police Chief Jim Peschong said last week that he will be retiring in February after 40 years with the department. Peschong was tapped for the position in 2011.

Mayor Chris Beutler has not said how Peschong’s successor will be hired.

Public Safety Director Tom Casady noted that crime statistics, including no homicides, show that Lincoln is in good shape. But Peschong says the department he will leave behind needs more police officers to investigate crime and stay engaged with the community.

Peschong told the newspaper that he believes the police department has fared well in dealing with recent gang activity by having officers focus on that area and work with young people. He said full-time gang investigators and other officers have tried to insert themselves into a little bit of the gang culture.

Peschong said, “We’re hoping with our uniform gang officers there can also be a good partnership in the police working with some of these community organizations that are working with kids (that) we can identify some of the kids from what we know of kids that are kind of starting to get emerged into these gangs.”

According to him, the police department also has a good partnership with community organizations that work with kids who are at risk of joining gangs.

The police chief also reflected on the recent meeting between police chiefs from across the nation and President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., which he attended.

When asked what he took away from that meeting, Peschong responded that not everyone who is being placed in prison should be there. According to the police chief, more programs are needed for offenders and mental health and substance abuse issues need to be addressed instead of simply placing them in prison.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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