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Dispatcher positions safe but four officer jobs on the line

By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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No dispatchers will be laid off in July. That’s according to Lincoln Police Chief Paul Shelgren. However, he said Monday that four sworn officers will lose their jobs, citing a recent recommendation by the City Council. The council recommended at the May 10 meeting that the police department cut four officer positions, according to prior News Messenger reports. “Dispatchers are unsworn, and right now, there are no dispatcher positions up to lay off,” Shelgren said. Shelgren said the city will be able to “maintain service levels” for dispatch, which benefits both police and fire. “Unless someone calls in sick we’ll have two dispatchers covering (the city) a fair amount of time,” Shelgren said. “It’s definitely a benefit for the community.” Fire Chief Dave Whitt described dispatch as “our lifeblood.” “It helps us on the fire side,” Whitt said. “When we have a priority-one type call, for police or fire, we have to have adequate dispatch levels for our personnel’s safety and the public’s safety.” According to previous News Messenger reports, priority-one calls are ones of “high-importance,” including drunk-driving reports, reckless driving and crimes against people.