Police Oversight Debate

By: Gary Smollen Email
By: Gary Smollen Email

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer is receiving high marks for how he has handed the excessive force allegations and investigation. But the question of an auditor or some kind of police oversight is already being brought up.

Channel 6 News took the question to the city council candidates in District Six; incumbent Franklin Thompson and challenger Phil Klein.

The incident has been shown hundreds of times many people have already formed opinions on whether it is a brutal show of police force or if the actions taken by the officers were justified, or even necessary.

Chief Schmaderer continues to ask people to let the process work and not jump to any conclusions prematurely.

Councilman Franklin Thompson agrees but is also hearing from voters that no matter what the outcome of the investigation the time for police oversight has come.

Franklin Thompson says, "Not only are citizens saying we want an auditor, that's only half of what they're saying, they're also saying we want access to information."

Thompson says part of the equation has to include re-working police contract to allow for the release of some information.

District 6 challenger and former Elkhorn Mayor Phil Klein says voters are not pressing him for police oversight. Klein says the voters he has spoken to want reliable city services and lower taxes.

An auditor position is rarely, if ever, mentioned.

Phil Klein says, "I don't see that it is necessary or needed. You look at this current incident that happened; I think the chief did a super job and I think he still continues to do so."

Thompson isn't backing an auditor position 100%; he wants to know who an auditor would answer to, how much power the position will have and how it is being funded.

Klein says the money could be better spent in other areas.

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