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Public Input Sought In Search For Next Lincoln Police Chief

LINCOLN–(News Release Feb. 18)–Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird on Thursday kicked off a four-week public engagement process to seek community feedback on the skills and qualities residents would like to see in Lincoln’s next Police Chief. The process includes a short online survey at lincoln.ne.gov/PoliceChiefSearch as well as virtual listening sessions and focus groups.

“My priority throughout this process is to listen,” said Mayor Gaylor Baird. “I plan to listen to the residents of our community, to the sworn officers and staff at the Lincoln Police Department, and to the stakeholders and partners who work with LPD on a daily basis.”

Former Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister resigned in early January to seek a position in the private sector, and Mayor Gaylor Baird thanked Brian Jackson for serving as Acting Chief during the search for a permanent Chief.

In addition to the questions, the survey provides an opportunity for residents to offer open-ended comments and information. Those who lack access to the online survey can complete the survey by calling 402-441-1877 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Paper copies of the survey will be available at all Lincoln City Libraries starting Friday, February 19. Information about the virtual listening sessions and focus groups will be available at lincoln.ne.gov/PoliceChiefSearch. The Mayor also will visit with LPD leaders, officers, and staff as well as 911 Emergency Communications employees about their priorities for a new Police Chief.

When the public engagement efforts conclude in mid-March, a job announcement will be released by the end of March, with applications due at the end of April.

To conduct the national search, the City will work with the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a police research and policy organization that has helped cities recruit and select well-qualified candidates for 30 years. PERF has assisted with more than 75 executive searches in the last ten years, and the Mayor said PERF is experienced in coordinating successful searches during the pandemic.

PERF will help the City screen applicants, and an interview panel will meet with selected candidates in late May. Once the interview panel selects the finalists, the City will schedule an additional public forum in June to allow the community to give final input before a job offer is made.  The nomination is subject to approval by the City Council.

“Our goal is to identify a Police Chief who best meets the unique needs of our vibrant, diverse, and growing community,” said Mayor Gaylor Baird. “I encourage community members to participate in the effort to identify the best person to take on the challenge of leading this important public safety agency.”

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