Douglas County Sheriff’s Office to get new security fence

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Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 10:56 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - An Omaha area law enforcement agency is getting more protection, but it has nothing to do with guns or body armor. Instead, a new fence will soon be in place to protect the sheriff’s staff.

Cruisers and employee vehicles parked behind the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office at 156th and Maple are only protected by a sign. Retired deputy Charlie Rehmeier says from experience that’s not enough.

“We used to find people back here every once in a while, up to no good, or they were lost, or that was the excuse they gave,” Rehmeier said.

But now the parking lot and canine training area behind the sheriff’s office are being fenced off. The project is about a month away from completion.

“If we are going to protect the public, we have to be able to protect our employees as well,” Chief Deputy Wayne Hudson said. “They have to have that sense of comfort that they can come to work and be protected.”

While the fence should deter anyone from walking onto the grounds, an electronic gate requiring a passcode or passcard is being installed as well to keep out unauthorized vehicles.

The need for a gated parking lot became apparent a few months ago when an armed, mentally ill man confronted deputies hoping they would shoot him.

Hudson says the incident ended peacefully and most drivers into the lot are just confused with the treasurer’s auto licensing office next door.

“They’ll come up to our door and knock thinking it’s the treasurer’s office to do their plates or something, and we got to tell them the correct way to go.”

Rehmeier says the electronic gate and fence are a sign of the times.

“I think it is with today’s climate, the guys park their personal cars back here and the cruisers are ripe for someone to come back here to mess with.”

The gate also won’t stand in the way of first responders.

“We’ll have a button inside our department so if there’s an emergency call, we can hit that button and the gate will expedite opening so we can get deputies out to the call quickly,” Hudson said.

The upgraded security measures behind the sheriff’s office will also include a state-of-the-art camera system focused on the new fence and gate.

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