July 5, 2022

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‘I’m worried’: Omaha police union president says department getting low number of applicants

An Omaha police recruitment video asks the question,”Would you like to be part of the best law enforcement agency the nation has to offer?”Not as many people are saying yes. “It’s a little scary. I’m going to be honest, I’m a little worried,” said Tony Conner, president of the Omaha Police Officer’s Association.Conner’s worried because he said since the department opened up the application process on March 1, only about 200 people have applied.OPD usually gets more than 1,000 applications. Conner said they need a large pool of qualified candidates because about half don’t show up for the first step of a written test. “As the process goes on, people fall off because they don’t meet those standards… we have a pretty high standard,” he said.The authorized strength of the police force is 906.Like most law enforcement agencies, OPD has been short-staffed for the past couple of years.Even with a new class starting next month, Conner said they still need about 60 officers.”At this point, if you don’t have the numbers, you’re going to have considered reducing probably certain services and I don’t think that would bode well with the public,” Conner said.Conner believes some people aren’t interested in being a police officer after the summer of protests.”In 2020 with the civil unrest, people saw our job on the front page of the paper or the top story in the news every night and they saw how difficult our job is,” Conner said. “It may discourage some people l who may have thought about this career to think about a different career.”The department is trying to reach younger candidates so it created a Tik-Tok account, “Join OPD.”The department said no experience is necessary to be an officer since recruits go through an extensive training academy.Conner said they’re desperate to fill the vacancies. “These numbers are scary and because they are scary, I think it’s time to start thinking outside the box,” he said.OPD has extended the application deadline from March 31 to April 18.

An Omaha police recruitment video asks the question,

“Would you like to be part of the best law enforcement agency the nation has to offer?”

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Not as many people are saying yes.

“It’s a little scary. I’m going to be honest, I’m a little worried,” said Tony Conner, president of the Omaha Police Officer’s Association.

Conner’s worried because he said since the department opened up the application process on March 1, only about 200 people have applied.

OPD usually gets more than 1,000 applications.

Conner said they need a large pool of qualified candidates because about half don’t show up for the first step of a written test.

“As the process goes on, people fall off because they don’t meet those standards… we have a pretty high standard,” he said.

The authorized strength of the police force is 906.

Like most law enforcement agencies, OPD has been short-staffed for the past couple of years.

Even with a new class starting next month, Conner said they still need about 60 officers.

“At this point, if you don’t have the numbers, you’re going to have considered reducing probably certain services and I don’t think that would bode well with the public,” Conner said.

Conner believes some people aren’t interested in being a police officer after the summer of protests.

“In 2020 with the civil unrest, people saw our job on the front page of the paper or the top story in the news every night and they saw how difficult our job is,” Conner said. “It may discourage some people l who may have thought about this career to think about a different career.”

The department is trying to reach younger candidates so it created a Tik-Tok account, “Join OPD.”

The department said no experience is necessary to be an officer since recruits go through an extensive training academy.

Conner said they’re desperate to fill the vacancies.

“These numbers are scary and because they are scary, I think it’s time to start thinking outside the box,” he said.

OPD has extended the application deadline from March 31 to April 18.