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Fiery debate over Omaha Police Union contract at council meeting

Omaha Police Chief answers City Council questions about OPD budget
Omaha Police Chief answers City Council questions about OPD budget
Published: Nov. 10, 2020 at 6:00 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A fiery debate took place at Omaha City Hall Tuesday afternoon.

Dozens of people voiced frustration, concern, even anger when it came to the proposed Omaha Police Union contract.

The police contract has much of what you would think -- it’s for five years -- officers would get an average raise of 2.9 percent a year with changes to pension and health care.

But most of what was up for debate today centered on transparency -- and in some cases, a lack thereof.

Especially considering the civil unrest in Omaha and the debate over police brutality.

In fact -- a judge heard the beginnings of a civil rights complaint in federal court today.

One part of the contract would recognize Juneteenth as a paid holiday for officers -- a day that celebrates the end of slavery in the U.S.

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said it was a show of respect to the culture.

Many speakers felt it was a slap in the face.

The tentative contract also allows the public to file a complaint against an officer without having to be interviewed by another officer.

The thinking is the current process scares off some people from following up.

A committee would also be established to review and decide challenged reprimands of an officer -- and the chief would have a longer probation window for new hires to give him more time to make sure they follow his high standards.

The City Council will vote on the contract in two weeks.

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