Thursday, April 26, 2012


The fire station optimization study outlined in my last three posts contemplates building either three or four fire stations, but using existing staff and apparatus--not additional personnel. It provides a nice increment of improvement in LF&R's coverage, and I believe it represents an exceptional return on investment.  In actuality, the City's Capital Improvement Program has included new fire stations for several years, but has been stalled, in part because of the City's inability to fund the large ongoing cost of new firefighters for new companies.

Cities all over the United States have been laying off police officers and firefighters, closing facilities, and in some cases even going bankrupt.  We have been spared some of the carnage here in Lincoln, but all of my peers in public safety management recognize that we are facing a new reality in government, and have to come up with new solutions.  Looking at the fire coverage problem from another vantage point has allowed us to come up with a more viable option for serving the City as well as we can with the resources citizens are willing and able to provide.

Another unfunded project that lingers in the City's Capital Improvement Program is a police substation in southeast Lincoln. This would be a facility where about 40-50 police employees would report to duty.  Officers would pick up their cars and equipment here, attend the shift briefing, and hit their beats.  This is where their locker room, report room, supplies, evidence drop-off, interview rooms and so forth would be located.

A south Lincoln police station is imperative, because officers working in deep southeast Lincoln are presently deploying at shift change from police headquarters downtown.  The time lag and fuel usage is horribly inefficient.  Two other substations of this type (27th and Holdrege and 49th and Huntington) work very well, and we are long overdue for a similar arrangement in the southeast area.  As cities grow, you inevitably see police stations decentralized in this fashion for the same reason: time and gas.

So, if we have a couple of fire stations in southeast Lincoln in our future, and a police substation as well, why not be roomies?  It is an attractive idea. We could share land, parking, locker and PT facilities, restrooms, foyers, hallways, multi-purpose room, and probably have some savings in basic stuff like concrete, HVAC, and footings, data, and more.

I'm betting a joint facility would be significantly less expensive than two separate facilities. It would also be a nice step in something else I've been up to as public safety director: improving the working relationship between police and fire personnel.  We've made some nice strides in the past few months, and this would be another good step in that direction.


Anonymous said...

Sell off half of the residential properties owned by LHA, and get them back on the property tax rolls. Get rid of the least-deserving half of the tenants, those that aren't significantly disabled or elderly.

There's a lot of dollars right there, both right away from the property sales, and continuing from the property tax revenue.

Anonymous said...

wE ARE FAR TO BUSY WITH SPORTS:We spend money on coaching and admission. We have no need to spend on such silly things as improving public service. Silly you!

Confused said...

04:07 "get rid of"?

Where will you bury them? Or do you just want to frog march them to the city limits?

If you only meant "evict", I guess poor families can sleep under bridges.

Anonymous said...

Public Safety Garage? What are your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

A fire/police combination station would be a good idea. I think it would have made more sense to have built a NE/SE substation somewhere on O St. instead of an individual NE substation. Was this ever considered back then? If so, what was the reason it wasn't done?

Anonymous said...

Dont' kid yourself--there are a lot of people in housing that shouldn't be. I've known several.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what Bi-Polar disorder is? Not to be insensitive to any that actually suffer from this but in conversations with many that claim to have this disability excessive drug or alcohol consumptions is what I suspect.
Gun Nut

Steve said...

Gun Nut:

I think it has something to do with the white bears disappearing due to the melting ice caps.

Anonymous said...

Hey Chief, if we co-locate with LFR does that mean we can watch movies on their bigscreens? Too soon? Just kidding, I think it makes sense to have a joint station with LFR since the folks who are on the ground doing the actual work on both sides get along fine, it's the upper echelon that seems to argue over trivial things.

Anonymous said...

I remember a certain new Public Safety Director that tried closing the airpark station. Don't puff your chest out too far with this plan Mr. Director.

Anonymous said...

Why does center team have a sub-station? The main station is on center team.

Anonymous said...

Cops like to eat about as much as firemen like to cook. Have you ever seen how much food a fire crew cooks daily? There will have to be a padlock on the kitchen door to keep the cops from raiding. Firemen have learned to eat overcooked or cold food because they leave the station when the tones go off. Police would have delayed response times while they get their last couple bites in before they would head out on a call. :)

Tom Casady said...


Garage is in the Capital Improvement Plan. Has been for a few years. Money to fund the plan is the problem.


Yes, it was considered, but the NE location was part of a community development project in University Place, which created a funding mechanism that wasn't available elsewhere.


Ditto for the N 27th Street redevelopment. We didn't choose the location, the project choose us, and I did not look the proverbial gift horse in the mouth by turning it down. Without these two community development projects, we would have no team stations anywhere.


You obviously do not understand the intricacies of the City budget process.

5:06 and 12:30,

There you go, picking on each other already, and you haven't even moved in together yet. Wait 'till your father gets home!