Chief Jim Peschong is retiring in February, after a 41 year career. This is a fine department in a wonderful community, and it is my hope that an exemplary group of applicants leads to the selection of a leader who can inspire others with a vision for the future. The City will be advertising this position nationally in the next several weeks, but applications can be accepted now.
Everything I wrote in this post a few years ago about the community and the department still holds true (well, I think the cost of a parking meter has gone up to a buck an hour.) It's just a great place to live, work, and raise a family. I pinch myself at the good fortune of serving as Lincoln's public safety director. If I were considering this job, here are the most important factors that would influence my decision:
- The workforce of the Lincoln Police Department is exceptional. We have large numbers of applicants, and have been able to choose excellent candidates over the years. The educational level is high, and there is a strong ethical value system that permeates the department. I am constantly impressed by the quality of our police officers.
- The department has a highly capable command and management staff. I feel entirely comfortable leaving anyone on the command staff in charge of the department. Civilian managers and sworn commanders have outstanding credentials and experience. They are deeply involved in civic affairs, and widely recognized as leaders not only in the department, but the community.
- Support from our elected officials is good. While Lincoln (like almost all other cities in the United States) has had some budgetary challenges in the past decade, we have been spared from cuts to the sworn workforce, and actually grown slightly. Our stations, equipment and fleet are in very good condition, and our technology is impressive. My sense is that as revenue rebounds the police department will be a continuing priority.
- Community support is strong. Lincoln has a long history of the true practice of community-based, problem-oriented policing. We have earned the goodwill and respect of our citizens. Even when we have our inevitable missteps, citizens trust us to do the right thing and set matters straight. We have a great relationship with the news media, with neighborhood organizations, and with other governmental and non-governmental agencies.
You can find a huge amount of information about the Lincoln Police Department on our public website and in our annual reports. I'm more than happy to talk to anyone who wants to get in touch and chat.
- Although Lincoln has a strong mayor form of government, in which all department heads serve at the pleasure of an elected mayor, this position does not have a history of a revolving door: Lincoln has had just six police chiefs in the past 75 years. I served as chief of police for five mayoral administrations.