Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Two new chiefs

I'm happy to welcome Jeff Bliemeister and Micheal Despain to the City of Lincoln. Jeff has been appointed chief of police, and Mike will begin serving as our new fire chief later this summer. Both were selected after a nationwide search and extensive screening to narrow an excellent pool of candidates.

Not only is it unusual to have new chiefs in both public safety agencies, but it is also unusual to have two chiefs who come from outside the departments. There haven't been many of those in the past fifty  years. Former fire chief Niles Ford (who is now the chief of the Baltimore Fire Department) comes to mind, as does George Hansen, who served a few years as Lincoln's police chief in the 1970's. LPD has only had 6 chiefs in the past 75 years!

One of the good things about chiefs with experience elsewhere it that they bring a new perspective. Sometimes we all get into our groove, and miss things that are in plain sight to a fresh set of eyes. I'm looking forward to working with both of our chiefs, and wish them well as they embark on this new phase of their careers.


Anonymous said...

Wishing them both rewarding experiences!

Anonymous said...

What do you think was the reason(s) for such a small number of internal applicants for both Fire and Police?

Tom Casady said...


Well, there were five internal candidates for police chief, which is quite a few. I think the big problem is that department directors have no civil service protection. When you have a pretty good management-level job with a contract and a good pension, giving that up for what could potentially be a short-term gig is daunting. It takes a lot of confidence, and a willingness to take a risk.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Tom--I've read your blogs for quite some time, and love most of them. Biggest problem is that there aren't enough of them!