Community Engagement and Outreach
As part of our community based policing model, we are constantly engaging with the community in non-law enforcement settings. We regularly attend community events in order to develop relationships and interact with members of our community in a positive environment. Our officers spend thousands of hours every year interacting with community members during these activities. Some examples include engagements at local recreation centers (F Street Rec Center, Belmont Rec Center), school family fun nights, block parties, National Night Out, attending community meetings and reading books to school children.
In addition to these gatherings, we have created our own events in which we can positively engage with the public. Some of these department-initiated activities include Shop with a Cop, Pop with a Cop, Coffee with a Cop, Cops and Bobbers, Catch-a-Cop Fun Run, LPD Trunk or Treat event, Police Youth Football, Tipping Point, Take Pause, Marathon Kids, and the Lincoln Police Union's annual Santa Cop auction. All of these engagements are very positive opportunities for officers to break down barriers to relationship building with members of our community. Lincoln police officers are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters. We are human, just like everyone else in our community, and we enjoy doing many of the same activities as other community members.
We have also partnered with the Malone Center to create the TRACE initiative. TRACE stands for Trust, Respect, Accountability, Collaboration, and Equity. TRACE has several goals: Identify various needs of the residents living in the greater Lincoln community, build open lines of communication with the Lincoln Police Department, develop mutual trust and respect between LPD and Lincoln residents, enhance accountability of police officers and improve police services for all Lincoln residents, collaborate with LPD on community projects, and improve equity among Lincoln residents.
The TRACE committee consists of a small group of members from the Malone, LPD, and the Lincoln community. The TRACE committee guides the six subcommittees, helps them develop their ideas, and if feasible, assists with implementing their initiatives in the Lincoln community and the Lincoln Police Department. The six subcommittees are: Hold Cops Accountable, Language, Policy, Investigations, Community Engagement, and Structural Disparity. These groups will meet bi-monthly to research, identify, and make reports to TRACE.
Additionally, officers routinely interact with the public in less formalized settings. This includes stopping by a store to greet the employees, having a discussion with a group of neighbors at one of our city parks, buying a glass of lemonade from some young entrepreneurs, etc. These kinds of interactions occur dozens of times per day in Lincoln. All of these connections are just one more step towards continuing our rich tradition of developing a positive relationship with the community and ensuring a high level of public safety.
We have also taken steps to ensure the community has input in our actions. We regularly include citizen input and participation when developing policies and during strategic planning for the department's future. We also routinely invite community members to sit on interview panels and give input during specialized position selections and promotional processes.