Metro law enforcement leaders face public at town hall meeting

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Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 10:43 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Both the Omaha Police Department’s chief and Douglas County Sheriff’s chief deputy faced the public to talk about the state of policing in the metro at the fourth Tuesday Town Hall in northeast Omaha.

Alongside civic leader Preston Love Jr. and Douglas County Sheriff’s chief deputy Wayne Hudson, Omaha Police Department chief Todd Schmaderer took most of the heat and says that’s what he’s here for.

“Oftentimes you’re only partially right, so you have an opportunity to hear what everybody’s concerns are,” Schmaderer said. “Also, their takeaways, positives, negatives, see what we can do to improve on things in the community. And honestly, for this one, it’s good to be in person again.”

Schmaderer said this was his first town hall in this setting since before COVID, as both he and Hudson heard concerns. And addressed changes they’ve made, including the approach to polarizing policing strategies like no-knock warrants. Both men said their departments use extreme caution in the circumstances where such a strategy is approved and employed.

“I think if you go back in time, eight or nine years ago, you could just focus on what goes on locally,” Schmaderer said. “But I think the subject of police enforcement has become so global, and what happens in another city plays out in the national media and you need to address it here as well.”

”What’s key is the dialogue,” said Preston Love Jr., moderator and co-organizer of the town hall at the Fabric Lab on 24th Street in Omaha. “And what happens, hopefully, is that the law enforcement is better informed and the community is better informed.”

The Omaha Police Department publishes regularly updated crime statistics, while the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office offers crime mapping and other statistics free to the public as well.

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