- Associated Press - Sunday, October 14, 2018

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Lincoln’s police chief is concerned that the Omaha Police Department is actively recruiting officers from Lincoln as part of an aggressive effort to bolster the Omaha ranks.

Lincoln Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister told The Lincoln Journal Star that his officers have received emails and phone calls attempting to lure them to Omaha. Bliemeister says he’s worried his department will see an “exodus” of officers. Four Lincoln police officers joined the Omaha department last year.

Omaha police officials hope to increase the number of officers from about 820 to 900 by 2019. Lincoln has about 350 officers, Bliemeister said.

Bliemeister said Lincoln, which has seen violent crime decline by nearly a third in the past decade, may not need to pursue a similar massive hiring effort. The city could have a difficult time keeping pace with the Omaha department, he said.

“We would have to hire 185 officers today, which is impossible,” Bliemeister said.

Recruiting that many officers could cost up to $16 million annually, and there aren’t enough interested people. A decade ago, 680 people applied to the department’s recruiting class, with 30 hired as officers, Bliemeister said. Applications have dropped this year and the department doesn’t want to compromise hiring standards, he said.

Bliemeister told the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce at a recent luncheon that the community can help by encouraging talented people with an interest in service to consider becoming a police officer.

“Send them to us,” he said.


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

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