The Omaha Police Dept. and Mayor Jean Stothert reveal plans to improve public safety in an area that is growing and has had growing concerns about response times.
Mayor Stothert and OPD Chief Todd Schmaderer announce plans to build a 5th Police Precinct in Omaha. It will be located at 209th & Cumberland Drive just north of West Dodge Road.
The precinct will cost about $8 million dollars to build on a 4-acre piece of land, and cover almost all areas west of Interstate 680. Mayor Stothert says the $9 million and $1 million used to purchase the land is already budgeted in the Capital Improvement Plan. Chief Schmaderer says it will likely cost an additional $1 million to have more cruisers and equipment.
"Public safety is all of our number one priority and we wanted to make sure we could fund it and move forward with it,” Mayor Stothert explained.
The northeast and southeast boundaries will stay the same but the other two will change. Chief Schmaderer says it will cut down on call loads.
"Response time is one benefit but what it does is provides coverage in a uniform matter throughout the city, it cuts down on drive time, it cuts down on the compression of call load in our western precincts,” Chief Schmaderer described.
By 2019 OPD plans to have 900 sworn officers or 2 officers per 1,000 citizens which, they say, is the generally accepted standard for major city staffing levels. Better response times, OPD believes, will cut down on west Omaha property crimes.
"Property crimes are usually opportunity based and the coverage and visibility of police generally will help with that,” Chief Schmaderer added.
The mayor wouldn't say if neighborhoods near the precinct would be annexed, but did say they have a very strategic process.
OPD hopes to break ground in 2018, and have the new headquarters in west Omaha open by late 2019.