November 6, 2018

Omaha’s police chief wants to tweak a law designed to make grand juries more open.

Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said a bill by State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha two years ago had the unintended consequence of making public a grand jury’s final report in cases when an officer is indicted.

Evidence, including transcripts and exhibits, should be released, Schmaderer said, but not immediately. That information should be released after an officer’s criminal proceedings are over, he said.

“Law enforcement officers are like everybody else,” he said. “They deserve proper due process in their cases, and this little cleanup will ensure that takes place.”

Chambers said that at first blush, the proposal sounds reasonable, but he promised to take a “microscopic-type” look at any proposed legislation.

“I’m willing to look at it and talk to (Schmaderer),” Chambers said. “He has always shown that he is acting in good faith. He knows that I am, too.”

The proposal is one of several under consideration to be City of Omaha priorities for the 2019 session of the Nebraska Legislature. On Tuesday, the City Council will hold a public hearing and vote on whether to advocate for the bills when state senators convene at the State Capitol in January. Read More.