99 officers short, OPD looks to raise pay
Chief Schmaderer: "I think that's a tough position to take.
It’s all but a done deal.
Starting pay for Omaha police officers are on track to once again be the highest in the state.
All that’s left following Tuesday’s OK by the city council, is the union’s OK and that’s expected soon.
[View our full video report above]
“The Omaha Police Department along with law enforcement agencies across the country are facing a national hiring and retention crisis. As of today, the Omaha Police Department is down 99 officers.”
That’s Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer urging the city council to okay Mayor Jean Stothert’s budget ask: $9.5 million to bump the starting pay for officers from $50,000 to $70,000, the highest in the state.
Joe Jordan, NCN: "You're 99 officers short. How does the department function 99 officers short?"
Police Chief Todd Schmaderer: "Well right now we're functioning just fine because we intervened with some management interventions to kind of streamline our workload. Our online reporting systems are more robust. We take a lot more calls on the phone and then also there's some things in the field kind of freeing up the officers time. So, right now we're not seeing any degradation in our crime stats and our response time."
As for those crime numbers the majority are looking good compared to a year ago: Rapes are down 10 percent; Robbery down 24 percent; Aggravated Assault down 13 percent; Burglary down 4 percent; Theft’s down 20 percent.
Joe Jordan, NCN: "Is it possible for anyone to make the case that since the crime numbers haven't spiked, you don't need the additional officers?"
Chief Schmaderer: "I think that's a tough position to take because one metric that has gone up sequentially is the overtime; and the overtime has probably gone up well over $3 million. And so, the extra officers would eat into that significantly. And then also, you know, we’re not going to have these officers in the in the field for quite some time. It takes 11 months, basically from the time they get in the door."
Those police raises costing that $9.5 million given the go-ahead by the city council on Tuesday.