Election 2022: Douglas County Sheriff’s debate gets heated
Aaron Hanson and Greg Gonzalez went back and forth for 45 minutes explaining why they believe they are the best choice for voters.
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A fiery debate Thursday afternoon between the two men who want to be the next Douglas County Sheriff.
Democrat Greg Gonzalez retired as a deputy chief with the Omaha Police Department earlier this year. Republican Aaron Hanson is a sergeant with the Omaha Police Department’s Fugitive Squad.
Around 100 people packed into the German-American Society over lunch to listen to the candidates for sheriff—the questions came from the Suburban Omaha Rotary.
Aaron Hanson and Greg Gonzalez went back and forth for 45 minutes explaining why they believe they are the best choice for voters. The heated exchange started right away during opening statements.
“You may have noticed recently on the news that my opponent took advantage of some illegally leaked documents on a high-risk arrest I made. I am signing a release now for the Omaha Police Department can speak freely. Full transparency. I’m calling on my opponent to sign this release regarding the secret agreement he entered into when he left the Omaha Police Department, and the fact that he was brought up in a long-standing criminal investigation by the FBI—his phone number came up on a wiretap,” said Hanson.
“Mr. Hanson is embroiled in two lawsuits right now. I am not. I’ve never had a reprimand on the job in 27 years. I retired in good standing from the Omaha Police Department. The police chief will tell you that if you talk with him. I was one of his trusted assistant chiefs. I would like Mr. Hanson to talk about his racial profiling lawsuit—and his excessive force ongoing lawsuit,” said Gonzalez.
A Douglas County district court judge dismissed the racial profiling case last week. Both men took shots at each other throughout. But they were also asked a number of questions from their leadership styles to paying more to keep and attract deputies.
They also were asked about the strain of mental health cases on law enforcement.
“I brought the mental health co-responder program to the Omaha Police Department. That’s what we have in place now. About 40% of our inmates experience some form of mental health. Those are the benefits of running task forces at the highest levels of management which my opponent has not, by the way,” said Gonzalez.
“I have a plan to create a unit in the sheriff’s office and would work closely with the OPD Behaviorial Mental Health and Wellness Unit—focusing on individuals who are navigating the board of health. Those individuals are some of the highest-risk individuals in our community,” said Hanson.
This isn’t a position with much turnover.
Tom Wheeler has been the placeholder—he’s been Douglas County Sheriff for two years declining to run for the position. He replaced Tim Dunning who spent 26 years as Douglas County Sheriff.
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