Streamlined Law Enforcement Reciprocity Process – Unicameral Update

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The reciprocal process for law enforcement officers to become certified in Nebraska was updated under a bill passed April 12.

Senator Steve Lathrop

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The senator. Steve Lathrop

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Senator Steve Lathrop

LB1241&Legislature=107th”>LB1241, introduced by Senator Steve Lathrop of Omaha, makes a number of changes to the current program of reciprocal state law enforcement authority until all requirements have been met met, but they may serve as an uncertified conditional officer.

The bill redefines a training academy as any facility operated by multiple law enforcement agencies that provides certification training and requires that a reciprocal test be offered at least once a month. The bill also removes the requirement that a law enforcement officer must complete continuing education within the calendar year of retirement.

The bill contains provisions of LB1270, introduced by Elmwood Sen. Robert Clements, who authorize a tiered system of retention payments and hiring bonuses for law enforcement officers.

The first tier offers a payout of $750 to officers in police departments with more than 75 officers and $1,500 to officers in departments with fewer than 75 officers who have completed one year of full-time service. The second tier provides a $2,500 bonus to small department officers for three years of full-time service and the third tier would provide $5,000 to officers who have completed five years of full-time service.

A law enforcement officer is not eligible for tier retention incentive payments if convicted of a Class I felony or misdemeanor or if their certification has been revoked. An officer found guilty of serious misconduct or who has been allowed to resign instead of being fired is also ineligible.

The provisions set out the legislator’s intention to allocate $5 million per fiscal year to implement the grant program, which will take effect on July 1, 2022 and end on June 20, 2028.

A law enforcement agency may also apply for a grant to distribute hiring bonuses to newly hired full-time officers. Departments with fewer than 150 officers who are not currently at the recommended staffing level as determined by the Nebraska Police Standards Advisory Council are eligible for funding.

LB1241 was approved on a 46-0 vote and took effect immediately.

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