LINCOLN–(News Release Sept. 29)–Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and City officials on Thursday thanked the 21st Century Policing Solutions (21CP) for its thorough workplace assessment of the Lincoln Police Department (LPD) and discussed efforts for continued improvement of the department.
“To support our law enforcement professionals and the excellent service they provide to our city, we are committed to ensuring a fair and equitable workplace environment for our entire police department,” Mayor Gaylor Baird said.
Mayor Gaylor Baird announced plans for the independent assessment of LPD in February 2021. 21CP is a national firm that includes veteran police chiefs and preeminent scholars, civil rights lawyers, and police union representatives. The firm has expertise in police management, systems, policy, training, operations, labor relations, internal investigations, and equity and inclusion practices.
To perform the assessment, 21CP conducted virtual and in-person focus groups with LPD employees, as well as an anonymous survey conducted this spring. The survey was administered by 21CP through a website with no relationship to the City of Lincoln or LPD and gave LPD employees the opportunity to share their experiences and perspectives on operations of the department.
Police Chief Teresa Ewins said her staff’s participation in the assessment shows a department dedicated to improvement.
“This report represents that, as a city and organization, we welcome an assessment,” Chief Ewins said. “We strive for perfection and at the same time understand perfection is a constant process and not simply a destination. Continuous improvement is crucial to modern law enforcement.”
Ewins said that many recommendations in the report had already been identified as areas for improvement. Some of the changes already in progress include an emphasis on recruitment, instituting a lieutenant class to provide additional leadership and opportunity for staff, pregnancy leave provisions, and recent salary increases that place LPD as the highest paid law enforcement agency in Nebraska.
Additional departmental changes include updating the selection process for specialized units and the hiring of an outside organization to administer promotional testing, Ewins added.
“This report confirmed what we knew—that our community continues to be well served by a high functioning, successful police department with a history of innovation and excellence. LPD is filled with dedicated, hard-working law enforcement professionals,” Chief Ewins said.
Barb McIntyre, Human Resources Director, said her department has worked with LPD to build a positive work environment by instilling high levels of trust and support, strong communications, encouragement, and compassion.
“We have provided a confidential avenue for people’s voices to be heard through the implementation of a new equal opportunity compliant policy and process. Having people feel safe at work is a high priority, and these situations are taken seriously,” McIntyre said. “Employees are able to raise sensitive topics in a safe environment which is necessary to ensure leadership receives honest and sometimes difficult feedback. Navigating these tricky situations in a fair, equitable, and respectful way is a sign of a workplace with a safe and positive environment.”
The Lincoln Police Department has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA®) since 1989. LPD was one of the first agencies in the country and the first in Nebraska to achieve this certification. CALEA® is the premier credentialing body for law enforcement agencies in the U.S. Only about 5% of U.S. law enforcement agencies have CALEA accreditation, which strengthens an agency’s accountability through a continuum of standards that clearly define authority, performance and responsibilities. LPD is re-evaluated for accreditation every two years.
For more information on LPD, visit police.lincoln.ne.gov.