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Omaha mayor, OPD chief address immigration fear

Mayor and police chief issue letter to local orgs
Posted at 10:40 PM, Feb 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-24 23:40:25-05

In a letter to several organizations, Mayor Jean Stothert and Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer addressed concerns of deportations within the Latino and immigrant community.

“It is not within the jurisdiction of the Omaha Police Department to determine whether an individual is an undocumented individual,” stated the letter.

The statement reassured communities that per OPD policy, OPD does not and will not seek out individuals based off of legal status.

“When I saw the letter, I thought that it was timely because of the concerns that have arisen among the community since November 8th,” says Nebraska’s Mexican Consul, Guadalupe Sanchez, who praises the mayor and chief for addressing a community concern.

The statement also assured that individuals calling 911 for emergency assistance will not be asked about their legal status.

"I think that it's important that the communities know that they can call 911 when they are victims of crime or if they witness a crime,” says Sanchez.

The letter clarified that OPD will assist ICE when their assistance is requested.

"When any person commits a crime, her or she can be subject to the policies of federal agencies. In those instances, the Omaha police Department will cooperate with our federal partners, only as outlined in our policies."

Other organizations, like the Latino Center of the Midlands and the Heartland Workers center say they appreciate the mayor and chief’s efforts to keep the Hispanic community informed.

They hope this letter will open the door for more dialogue between organizations and the city and have requested a meeting with both parties to address more concerns.

In a statement, the Latino Center of the Midlands said:

“Moving forward, the 2,500 clients that we work with annually would be best served by receiving more information and guidance on what the police department’s cooperating with federal authorities looks like.”