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Mayor and Police Chief announce actions being taken in wake of protest

Posted at 8:44 AM, Jun 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-25 19:26:12-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — In the wake of protests against police brutality across the country and in Omaha, Mayor Jean Stothert has announced a series of actions to revise the Omaha police policies, require additional training, solicit public input and develop a plan for diversity and training throughout city government.

"Meaningful change requires action," Stothert said. "We are listening, learning and taking appropriate action. We will be transparent, accountable and focused on training. My goal is to make a good police department even better."

FULL INTERVIEW: Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert and Police Chief Todd Schmaderer discuss policing changes, other city issues

Full interview: Omaha Mayor Stothert, Police Chief Schmaderer

Stothert said she will also be revising the executive order that created the Citizen Complaint Review Board. The CCRB will include an annual report. Citizens will also be able to file complaints directly to the review board by bypassing the internal affairs of OPD, though the initial investigation will be conducted by the internal affairs office.

"A citizen-led review board provides an independent review of complaints against officers," the mayor said. "We agree with suggestions that the result should be more transparent, so we will make the changes we can, without compromising confidential personnel details."

Police Chief Todd Schmaderer has made several changes to the Omaha Police Department's Use of Force Policy. These include creating an officer duty to intervene and report, forbidding the knee to neck pin and requiring a prone position warning.

The changes also reiterate the OPD's ban on choke holds.

"The change involves Cartorid Restraint Control Hold (CRCH) only if officer is attacked or deadly force," the release said.

Mandatory training has also been ordered for July. The training will include use of force policies, taser re-certification, suicide by cop training, the George Floyd case review, the impact of biased policing on community members and law enforcement and stop stick deployment.

"We want to be part of listening and reform," the chief said.

The release from the Mayor's office included information about officer-involved shootings, citing that the numbers have gone from 11 in 2010 to 1 in 2019. They say zero police-involved shootings have occurred in 2020 so far.

The chief says these low numbers are in part due to the full deployment of body cameras, full deployment of less lethal tasers, a mental health co-responder program, training and an early warning tracking system to identify problem officers.

The mayor also plans to improve diversity of the city by naming a community advisory board, naming a city employee advisory board, hiring a diversity and inclusion manager, expanding diverse representation on city boards and commissions, expanding racial diversity in all departments, including the police and fire departments, and requiring bias training for all city employees.

Stothert said she will be consulting with community groups and citizen volunteers already on boards like the Millennial Advisory Board, LGBTQ+ Advisory Board, the Native American Advisory Board and the Mayor's Youth Advisory Board.

"It will take all of use working together to achieve positive change," Stothert said. "Can we do better? Of course, we always strive to do better. You aren't handed trust, you earn it. These are our first steps, there will be others."

"We have an amazing city and amazing community partners, and we are part of this community," the police chief said. "I have great faith in this community and our future."

At the mayor's request, Chief Schmaderer is reviewing the recent protests and police response. The review will be present to the Mayor, City Council and public.