The Lincoln Independent Business Association is calling on the city of Lincoln to increase its police force. Wednesday, leaders with LIBA asked city leaders to prioritize tax dollars into increasing Lincoln's police force.
According to the organization, while Lincoln's population has grown resources have remained static. National research shows that the ratio for officers per thousand citizens is at 1.22 in the capital city, while the national average stands at 1.96.
LIBA officials say to return LPD to its peak strength ratio of 1.39, the city would need to hire are least 44 additional officers.
Mayor Chris Beutler responded to the criticism, saying the city's police force is lower than the national average because crime rates in the city are also well below the national average.
"Hiring additional Police Officers may be a good idea, but a decision must be based on the community’s priorities. We are fortunate to have violent crime and burglary rates that are 40 percent below the national average. But maintaining those low rates is not just a matter of having more police officers. It takes a good education system, good job opportunities and positive activities for our young people - the kind found at our schools, libraries and rec centers. The safety of a community also depends on maintaining streets and sidewalks, building new road systems like the South Beltway and making sure our fire stations are placed strategically to provide fast response to all parts of our city. "
LIBA also cited new changes in the capital city that could affect the way police are distributed in the city, including a the state's first entertainment district.
"We are planning a community conversation on these issues in October. I look forward to working with the entire community to set an agenda for next year’s budget," added Mayor Beutler.