Mayor Beutler's Budget Proposal Doesn't Add To Lincoln Police Dept.

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LINCOLN, Neb.-- Mayor Beutler presents his budget proposal to City Council Monday at 1 p.m. After taking office with what the mayor calls a "structurally imbalanced budget," and making some deep cuts the last few years, his proposal adds to city jobs and services for the first time in years.

But the proposal doesn't give any money to the Lincoln Police Department so they can hire more officers.

Chief Peschong remembers losing officers after the recession because of Beutler's cuts. Peschong said, "When you lose people like that you have to wind up deciding, 'okay the work that employee was doing, how do we wind up handling that work?'"

Peschong says his officers had to take on extra responsibilities because many secretarial positions were lost and record keeping became that much more difficult.

"Records position were lost. They're typing and transcribing police reports so that might actually slow down the reports that officers may have gotten," said Peschong.

The Police Chief says now it would be nice to add to the force since the city is growing in population and there are more people who need protection in Lincoln neighborhoods.

From 2007, the city's grown by almost 30,000 people. That's about the size of Hastings.

Peschong says in order to keep the number of police officers per 1,000 people favorable, Lincoln would have had to add four police officers per year. The city hasn't added police officers to the staff since 2009.

But besides just the population issue, Chief Peschong says they need more officers who can help with growing gang problems.

"We're hopeful that we can wind up getting a couple more officers to help us deal with our gang issue," said Peschong.

In fact, in early June Chief Peschong met with police officers from Omaha to talk about Lincoln's gang problem. And the city has applied for COPS grant funding for two police officers to help focus on gang activity.

But with or without more officers out on the streets patrolling Lincoln neighborhoods, Peschong says he's confident that his officers do know how to keep the city and your family safe.

Peschong says he doesn't know what their chances are for getting the grant.

"If we don't get it, we'll make do with what we have," said Peschong.


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