Police, religious leaders announce unity events

Posted at 4:08 PM, Jul 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-28 18:43:01-04

Improving community policing and relationships between citizens and law enforcement is the goal for a city-wide collaboration.

Thursday morning Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer, Mayor Jean Stothert, and the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance discussed new initiatives that are happening and will happen in the metro.

They are planning events to bring officers and citizens together to create a better understanding on both sides.  Recent violence across the country continues to raise the issue of race and authority relations.

"The message that this gathering must send and that we want the community to embrace is that it's not us against them, or black against blue, it is us and it is black and blue period," said Rev. Tony Sanders, President of the IMA.

The IMA finished a 7-day city wide plan that included town hall meetings, prayer, and conversations with law enforcement and lawmakers.

Chief Schmaderer says violent crime in Omaha decreased 5% in 2015, and is down another 7% so far this year.  He attributes it to the strong relationship with the community.

"There will not be a major city in the country that can reduce crime without solid police community relationships and partnerships," Chief Schmaderer described.

One event already held was to teach young African-American males how to interact with police officers.

Here’s a list of events that are scheduled for August

  • August 4th 6-7pm at Augustana Lutheran Church at 3647 Lafayette Ave.:  The Interfaith Solidarity Service will include Chief Schmaderer and diverse congregations to reflect on common humanity, appreciate different faith traditions, and continue to work together toward a peace-filled community.
  • August 13, 6pm at Fontenelle Park: The Back to School Rally will be a huge outreach event for youth and police to interact and have fun through activities and good conversation.  The OPD Helicopter “Able 1” will also be there.
  • August 27, time and place are TBD: A panel including Chief Schmaderer and a diverse representation of police will be on hand to speak with citizens to discuss topics toward a healthy engagement.