The city of Omaha is getting ready to work on budgets and included in Mayor Jean Stothert’s proposal is more money for the police department to hire more officers. Over the weekend the Omaha World Herald reported the department solved 7% of burglaries in 2013 compared to 16% in 2004. In 2013 they solved 12% of auto thefts compared to 20% in 2004.
Sgt. John Wells is the president of the Omaha Police Officer’s Union and agrees saying more officers are needed. He says much of their time is consumed with solving violent crime like murders and assaults. He says adding more officers doesn’t mean less crime but their response to calls and manpower to solve cases will improve.
Sgt. Wells reminds everyone that policing is only one part of the criminal justice system. He says there are also the courts, prosecutors and corrections. He says sometimes it seems like the prison system is a revolving door and officers catch the offender over and over again. He says those issues need to be solved as well.
The Omaha Police Department has about 775 officers working the streets with a goal of 840 in two to three years. Mayor Stothert will present her budget proposal to the Omaha City Council on Tuesday.