Mayor Suttle Wants Furlough Changes

By: WOWT Email
By: WOWT Email

Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle is hoping the Unicameral’s Judiciary Committee will give serious consideration to legislation that puts restrictions on felony offenders incarcerated for serious violent crimes, gun crimes and repeat violent crimes.

These restrictions include eliminating furlough based on good time and reducing the amount of good time offenders can receive

Today, Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer attended a Judiciary Committee hearing representing the City of Omaha, Mayor Jim Suttle, and the Omaha Police Department.

In his testimony before the Judiciary Committee, Chief Schmaderer spoke of the case of furloughed inmate Jeremiah Lucas, who was killed by Omaha police on September 29, 2012, after discharging a handgun and refusing orders from the officers to surrender his weapon.

Mr. Lucas, a known gang member, was on weekend furlough from the Nebraska Department of Corrections. He was serving a 5-8 year sentence for felony possession of a firearm.

He was believed by the Omaha Police Department to be responsible for other violent felonies in the Omaha area. Omaha Police had no knowledge that Mr. Lucas was out on furlough, and the Department of Corrections database classified Mr. Lucas incarcerated.

In his testimony, Chief Schmaderer highlighted administrative changes that have been made to ensure these serious problems are addressed. All furloughed inmates are now vetted through the Omaha Police Department and dialogue takes place between Omaha Police and the Department of Corrections.

In addition, the Department of Corrections is working towards computer entries that will denote furlough times so investigators have this information during follow-up investigations.

However, Chief Schmaderer stressed the need for legislative action, saying, “There is nothing to say the administrative changes we agreed on will not change, because they are just that, administrative, and can be altered without legislative oversight or review from the Omaha Police Department.”

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