Police Chief says forensic resources needed

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Lincoln has seen a 6% drop in violent & malicious crime over the last year, but Chief Jeff Bliemeister says the demands on officers continues to increase.

It's making things harder, especially for its forensics department.

LPD says the complexity of investigations as compared to a decade ago has increased due to things like video evidence.

And while video is helpful to solve and prevent crimes, it takes time, and staffing numbers are low.

Lincoln Police say the number of video cases it received last year was 12 times higher than it was 10 years ago.

"It's a great thing and a great tool for us to be able to solve and more importantly prevent crime, but we have to have the personnel and expertise to accommodate that,” said Lincoln Police Chief, Jeff Bliemeister.

This creates challenges for the department.

Jared Minary is the only full time Forensics Video Technician for the Lincoln Police Department.

He says it can take days to go through video for just one case.

"it's almost impossible for one person to keep up with the workload that is coming in,” said Forensics Video Technician, Jared Minary.

He says most cases involve video now, thanks to thing like Ring doorbells and cellphones.

But with so much to go through, there is a potential to miss things.

"There is obviously the opportunity for things to slip through the cracks. But we do our best to make sure that doesn't happen,” said Minary.

With a small staff and lots of video, they have to prioritize everything from larceny’s to homicides.

"A request for a shoplift, may take six months from the actual shoplift before we ever get to that case,” said Minary.

Chief Jeff Bliemeister says they're hoping to hire another employee to help in video forensics.

Something Minary says will help solve more crimes, faster.

"Obviously the more volume of cases we can get through, the better chance we're going to clear more cases regarding those,” said Minary.

Lincoln Police say they have room in the budget to pay for the extra position.

The starting pay for that job is about $22 an hour.