OPD's Chief One Year Later

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A suspected serial killer arrested; Omaha police officers fired for excessive force and 10 violent criminals taken off the streets. It’s been one year since Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer took the reins of OPD and it's been a busy year.

The chief sat down with WOWT’s Malorie Maddox to talk about the next step for our city.

When the chief was sworn in a year ago, he promised to be a visible chief. A year later he said, “I will continue to be visible if something big happens in the city. I believe the buck stops with me as long as it is crime-related."

Chief Schmaderer has had to face the cameras in several high profile cases. One of the high points of the year was announcing that a task force had tracked down an alleged serial killer, potentially solving four homicides.

“We were following him for quite some time,” the chief said of Dr. Anthony Garcia. “So we did know a month or two in, we felt very comfortable."

Chief Schmaderer says there was one clear reason he felt a task force needed to be devoted to these four murders. “We feel this individual would have killed again," he said.

While Garcia's arrest was a high point of his first year in office, the low point involved a rough arrest that OPD officers were involved in at 33rd and Seward in March.

“That was not an example of policing that I want done in this Omaha Police Department,” he said.

After an investigation, Chief Schmaderer sent a strong message: four officers were being fired.

“I do believe we are a better police department in the aftermath of that," he said.

Chief Schmaderer has said since day-one that violent crime is his top priority. Recently, 10 violent criminals were taken off the streets in Operation Purple Haze.

He told us, “When we do operations at a high level like Purple Haze, law enforcement becomes the witnesses in court and we will show up and we will testify."

The chief says violent crime remains his top priority in his second year in office. As he wraps-up his first year as chief, does he plan to stick by the promise he made of serving as chief for years to come?

“Even though we've had a tumultuous year, let's put it that way, it's been a great year. I'm looking forward to many more years to come and retirement isn't even on my mind," he said.

Chief Schmaderer said that several police officers were recently honored for saving people's lives. He said those moments are the biggest highlights.

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