Governor signs bills to expand state crime lab, state law enforcement training center

By: - April 21, 2022 6:21 pm

State Sens. Steve Lathrop (left) and Robert Clements (right) joined Gov. Pete Ricketts in a ceremony Thursday celebrating law enforcement legislation passed this year. (Courtesy of the Governor’s Office)

LINCOLN — The state’s ability to “recruit, retain and train” law enforcement officers has been enhanced thanks to bills passed by the Nebraska Legislature, Gov. Pete Ricketts said Thursday.

Ricketts, during a press conference in Grand Island, highlighted bills he signed that he said “go the extra mile to attract the best and brightest to serve in law enforcement.”

“We’re also committed to providing our officers with training and resources that are second-to-none,” the Republican governor said in a press release.

Among the bills passed this year were:

  • Legislative Bill 124, which streamlines the process for out-of-state law enforcement officers to become certified to work in Nebraska. The bill also grants incentive payments for officers who take jobs in Nebraska and remain on the job in rural areas. Law enforcement officials testified they are getting only a fraction of the recruits that they used to attract.
  • LB 1014, which allocates $47.7 million of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to expand the Law Enforcement Training Center in Grand Island and reduce wait lists for training.
  • LB 1011, which allocates $16.9 million to upgrade and expand the State Patrol Crime Laboratory to handle increased workloads at the facility.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site.

Paul Hammel
Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska Legislature and Nebraska state government for decades. He started his career reporting for the Omaha Sun and was named editor of the Papillion Times in 1982. He later worked as a sports enterprise reporter at the Lincoln Journal-Star. He joined the Omaha World-Herald in 1990, working as a legislative reporter, then roving state reporter and finally Lincoln bureau chief. Paul has won awards from organizations including Great Plains Journalism, the Associated Press and Suburban Newspapers of America. A native of Ralston, Nebraska, he is vice president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation and secretary of the Nebraska Hop Growers.