Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Project Safe Neighborhoods

Project Safe Neighborhoods is a national program sponsored by the United States Department of Justice to reduce gun crime. In 2004, the Lincoln Police Department applied for and received a small grant to implement a multi-pronged strategy, consisting of close supervision of parolees and probationers, saturation enforcement, and undercover details in a small area of southwest Lincoln. We have continued to receive these small grants for four years. You can read a little more about our strategy on page 15 of our 2004 Annual Report.

Friday night/Saturday morning, we conducted our 45th Project Safe Neighborhoods detail. Sgt. Don Scheinost from my Management Services staff, organizes and supervises these projects. He assembled a group of 15 officers, 2 parole officers, 2 adult probation officers, and 2 juvenile probation officers. Six officers were teamed with the probation/parole officers and conducted home visits of people in the target area on parole or probation. Sgts. Mike Basset and Tim Kennett led the five-person undercover detail, and the remaining officers were assigned to saturation patrol and enforcement.

The detail kicked off with a 5:00 PM briefing at headquarters. The officers working on Project Safe Neighborhood details are all on overtime, supplementing the on-duty staff. This really allows us to concentrate some resources intensely in areas where the extra help is most needed. PSN works in two areas in southwest Lincoln that have the densest concentration of the kinds of gun-related crime the these projects are meant to suppress. The PSN target area overlaps the Stronger Safer Neighborhoods project area where we are also working more holistically on a variety of fronts to improve conditions.

Although Friday night's weather was less than ideal, the PSN detail had a productive night--something we have come to expect from this project. The pandering arrests I referred to in Monday's post resulted from the PSN undercover detail. The probation/parole/police officer teams and the saturation patrol and enforcement details both had good success. Overall this is what the detail produced:

64 home visits
9 probation/parole searches
5 probationers/parolees tested for drugs or alcohol
3 probation/parole violations
25 official traffic citations
46 traffic warning citations
3 driving during suspension arrests
33 misdemeanor arrests (17 narcotics related/16 other)
1 felony Arrest-Forgery
3 felony arrests - Pandering
4 warrant arrests (misdemeanor)

That's excellent productivity by a group of motivated police, probation, and parole officers who laid it on the line to help keep this City safe. Anyone who thinks this work is easy is sorely mistaken. It takes determination and courage to make a difference.


Anonymous said...

That is quite a bunch. Keep the good work up.

Anonymous said...

A lot of hard work and everyone involved did their part. Now chief, could you do a follow up and let us know what happens to these people and their charges? Dropped,Pled to lesser charges, jail time, fines etc. I think the police do their part just to be let down by the courts. I was always told as a rookie officer to never look at the outcomes of your cases because it will disappoint you and you will lose your motivation.

Anonymous said...

Our mayor says he wants stronger safer neighborhoods, and then he wants to yank funding from the after school CLcs? Having our at-risk youth in an after school program helps keep our neighborhoods stronger and safer. Wouldn't our police want us to be proactive rather than reactive? That time after school is a risky time for youngsters - our CLC program is something Lincoln is doing right. Or do we just let our youth slide and expect our cops to handle the outcome?

Anonymous said...

Your solution, then? The demand of everyone for their favorite City services to remain fully funded, coupled with the even stronger demand by an even larger plurality of voters to avoid any tax increases has got to be wearing the City's elected officials and employees out. What do you propose cutting that's worth the $178K that CLCs are receiving from the City, and why isn't private philanthropy handling this? Are you proposing cutting police funding as an alternative?

Anonymous said...

LPS has an annual budget of about 278 million dollars. Next to that, the city's ante to the CLC program is truly insignificant. Let LPS trim their own huge budget and free up those funds.

Anonymous said...

Are these Officers chosen to do this or what are the requirements to get on to this team. Do you have to be good or motivated or does that matter. Is this the cream of the crop

Anonymous said...

I agree that CLCs are proactive. Or would you prefer to be reactive and spend more money on police later, rather than making a smaller investment early on in our youth?

The mayor is talking out of both sides of his mouth. He says he wants safe, strong neighborhoods, but that should mean more than just adding cops. It means taking proactive steps to prevent problems in the first place. LPS shouldn't be the only entity with a stake in helping our youth.

Rejecting CLCs because of a knee-jerk reaction to the LPS budget is naive.

Anonymous said...

If being proactive was a high priority at LPS, then they'd fully fund all of the SROs out of their own gargantuan budget. Maybe they could sack a few non-educators to make up the shortfall. In any case, the city's portion of the CLC programs was less than 1/10 of 1 per cent of the total LPS budget. If they can't find that much waste and redundancy in their current balance sheet, then they're the tightest-run public school system in the universe.

Anonymous said...

Back on the topic of targeted enforcement grants, is there any of this kind of grant funding available?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, here's the functional enforcement grant story link. Is there any of that grant funding available for use down here in Lincoln?

Tom Casady said...


We use mini grants from the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles Division of Highway Safety regularly. They pay for some overtime to put extra enforcement out at some key times and locations.

I note this is an Omaha story. Please tell me we're not opening another "Omaha is great, Lincoln sucks" thread, implying that "if only the LINCOLN police were on the ball like OMAHA police, we wouldn't have all these killers on the road driving like maniacs. I get so tired of this.

But if so, please go here (bottom of the page), select the year of your choice, select Douglas County, scroll to the appropriate agency, then look for the TOTAL (it's the number at the bottom of the first column of numbers). Do the same for Lancaster County and LPD. We have 317 sworn officers. Omaha has somewhere in the neighborhood of 750.

Anonymous said...

Belay that cannon fire, keep that powder dry for the enemy! I'm quite happy living here, rather than up in Omaha. Their murder rate being 3.5-4x ours is just one of the many reasons that Omaha is not a better place to be. I was just curious if the grant funding was limited-time only. I'm not wise to the ways of the grant world.