Area law enforcement agencies are re-examining how they deal with information concerning furloughs from the state prison. Those issues were not on the radar until last weekend when Omaha police shot and killed Jermaine Lucas, a convicted violent felon who was out on furlough.
Police did not know that Lucas was in town when police shot and killed him. OPD officials say the chief is meeting with the prison director and they are working on a plan to have better communication between Omaha police and the state pen in Lincoln.
While Omaha and Nebraska state officials figure out a way to talk about who is out free on city streets, the mayor is expressing his concern. "I'm concerned that despite our efforts locally, the state of Nebraska can and without our knowledge return repeat gun offenders with a violent and dangerous background to our streets,” said Mayor Suttle on Tuesday.
“I've been on work release through Douglas County, I've been on house arrest and I've been an inmate for DUI in the Nebraska Department of Corrections at OCC,” said ex-inmate Kenneth Porkorny.
Porkorny has been furloughed and placed under house arrest. He says the state program is thorough and safe and the mayor should be more concerned about inmates in his own back yard. “Why Mayor Suttle is looking at the state and here Douglas County is letting the gang members and violent people with assault, domestic violence, they're out walking the streets and the local police department has no knowledge of that.”
Omaha officials are talking to state officials to work out their communication issues, but in Douglas County the sheriff’s office has been in touch with the state for years. “Typically, what happens is the state corrections notifies the sheriff’s office and other local law enforcement that one of their inmates is on furlough in our area and we get an email," said Martin Bilek with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department.