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Dr. Stothert’s memorial fund leaving lasting impact on Omaha community

Published: Mar. 13, 2021 at 6:58 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -A little over one week ago we were bringing you breaking news, the death of Mayor Jean Stothert’s husband, Joe.

We’ve learned the outpouring of support that followed is already having a profound effect.

OPD says they respond to thousands of mental health calls each year. About a year ago they added mental health co-responders to each precinct.

Mental-health therapists now assist officers with those calls.

“The co-responder can come in to do what they do and are trained to do as far as to help to get that person connected to the right resources that they need to stabilize them at the moment and then get them connected to ongoing care,” said Deputy Chief Bang.

Now, with donations from Dr. Stothert’s memorial fund, OPD is expanding its mission.

They will have a team of mental health therapists and police officers working to be proactive.

When a family member or loved one sees someone suffering—these teams will get them help before a crisis arises.

“If a family member has called and said I’m really concerned about my family member, this is what they are saying. They are depressed, they are acting suicidal, they are not engaged in resources after reviewing those reports we will be proactive to try and get them connected to resources,” said Deputy Chief Bang.

Deputy Chief Michele Bang says the funds will keep this program going for up to a year. She says that could help hundreds of people.

The money will pay for overtime for both the co-responder and officer to be able to make those house calls and spend extra time getting people the resources they need.

“If we can help keep those folks stabilized then that’s great. Some of them have been through serious traumatic situations,” said Deputy Chief Bang.

Deputy Chief Bang says the donations pouring into both the First Responders Foundation and Omaha Police Foundation show the impact Dr. Stothert had on our community.

“It’s an extremely generous donation and it goes to show who he was as a person.”

Officers will be able to volunteer for the program. Deputy Chief Bang says so far 90 officers are participating.

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