The Omaha Police Department added 44 police officers to its ranks Friday as they graduated after 23 weeks of academy training.
A dozen veteran recruits who already had Nebraska law enforcement experience also joined the formal celebration, as both groups started together in May.
Counting those new officers, OPD now has 872 full-time sworn officers — just seven more than the department had in February.
Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer has said that force numbers have dropped because of early retirements due to stressors in 2020.
The veteran law enforcement officers officially graduated in July after 12 weeks of training.
The group was deemed the largest, most diverse recruit class in OPD history. Four of the recruits did not make it to graduation.
Nearly 43% of those in the class are people of color, and more than one-fifth are women.
One of them is Officer Eh Sayler, who is the first Omaha police officer to speak Karen, a language widely spoken in Thailand and Myanmar. Sayler, a former refugee who came to the U.S. from Thailand as a young girl, worked as as unpaid intern and translator with OPD in 2018.
Alia Conley's memorable stories from 2020
A last-minute 2019 homicide and police shooting; Nebraska Crossing opening drama; troubles with the Omaha police helicopter unit; a strange fatal shooting in central Nebraska; and an inmate who admitted to a World-Herald reporter that he killed a convicted child sex offender.
These are some of World-Herald writer Alia Conley's top stories from 2020.
On Dec. 31, 2019, Omaha and its police department were hours away from two remarkable statistics: tying a 14-year low number of homicides and …
A World-Herald analysis of the Omaha Police Department's air support unit found that helicopter flight hours had dropped substantially over th…
In mid-April, as Gov. Pete Ricketts advised people to stay home and take care of only essential errands once a week, Nebraska Crossing Outlets…
A strange June killing in central Nebraska seemed weirder as more details surfaced from court filings.
James Fairbanks, who awaits trial in connection with the May 14 slaying of Mattieo Condoluci, admitted to shooting him in a long interview whi…