(Bellevue, NE) -- The Bellevue Police Department is looking to expand their force, just as millions across the nation call to defund the police.
6 News sat down with the members of the Bellevue Police Department to find out why they think right now is an important time to grow. There are currently 88 police officers actively working for the Bellevue Police Department. The goal is to add 23 more.
BPD tells 6 News that the reason is simple, the community has grown and BPD leaders want to grow with it. Capt. Andy Jashinske from the Bellevue Police Department said, “We were a city of about 50,000. Over the last few years, we’ve annexed somewhere between 10 and 15 thousand in additional population. Think about that. If you look at 10 thousand, that’s 20% of an increase in the population so, in order to keep up, we need to increase our police department.”
As leaders here are looking for recruits, they say it’s paramount they find the right fit. “We need to always have those people and we need to have the best of the best to do it,” said Capt. Jashinske.
That means not only finding officers who are qualified but diversifying the department. “That’s something we really want to focus on and have our police department be consistent with the make-up of our community, said Capt. Jashinske.
Leaders say they want more minorities and women to join the force. They feel as though having a representation in the community will build a better Bellevue. “We should have a police department that represents our community, said Capt. Jashinske. Everybody brings something different to the table. Everyone brings a different perspective. My perspective will be different that someone else’s so it’s important to diversify as much as we can to make us better.”
The Bellevue Police Department has started a new initiative called 30 by 30. The goal is to have 30% of the workforce to be made of female officers. Right now, the number sits under 10%.