Independent Assessment of Lincoln Police Department Underway

Lincoln, NE (March 2, 2022) Starting today, Wednesday, March 2, all Lincoln Police Department (LPD) employees have the opportunity to complete an anonymous survey about their experiences and perspectives on operations of the Department. The survey is being conducted by 21st Century Policing Solutions (21CP) as part of that national firm’s assessment of LPD’s policies, procedures, and workplace experience.

Several Police Department employees have been placed on suspension, fired, or filed suit against LPD recently over complaints of sexual harassment or sexual assault.

In February 2021, Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird directed that an independent assessment of LPD, including a survey and focus groups, be conducted. “The men and women of the Lincoln Police Department work hard every day to deliver results and uphold our city’s high standard of public safety,” said Mayor Gaylor Baird.  “An essential part of ensuring that LPD continues to be successful in accomplishing its mission is thoroughly responding to concerns and maintaining a culture of excellence, free from discrimination and harassment. This process involves seeking the perspectives of all our law enforcement professionals.”

“As an organization, we should never shy away from ongoing evaluation and criticism, as well as praise for who we are,” wrote Police Chief Teresa Ewins in a message to LPD employees. “I fully support 21CP’s collection of information vital to a thorough assessment of our department and encourage all employees to take advantage of this opportunity to provide input to these consultants. The ultimate goal is to learn how to be the best department and improve in areas identified by their work and your input and experiences. This is your opportunity to set course for your legacy and what we hand to the next generation serving this community.”

In February 2021, prior to the hiring of Police Chief Teresa Ewins, the City initiated the process of engaging a third-party to conduct the assessment. The final selection of 21CP to conduct the independent evaluation took place with the input of Chief Ewins in October 2021. The overall assessment is underway.

21CP is a collective of 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.

21CP will administer the survey through a website with no relationship to the City of Lincoln or LPD. Information shared through the survey will be kept anonymous, and 21CP will not collect identifying information. Participation is voluntary. 21CP will also conduct virtual and in-person focus groups with LPD employees. Again, participation is voluntary and 21CP will not share identifying information with the LPD or City of Lincoln.

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.