Lights bill for Neb. citizen patrols advances

Jan 18, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A bill that would let civilian crime-prevention groups patrol the streets with flashing amber lights on their vehicles has won first-round approval from Nebraska lawmakers.

The measure advanced on a 25-20 vote Friday after more than eight hours of debate.

The bill was inspired by citizen groups in Omaha that patrol neighborhoods in an effort to deter crime. The groups are taught by police to observe and report crimes, but they aren't supposed to confront the perpetrators.

Senator Scott Lautenbaugh of Omaha says he introduced the measure so group members could use the caution lights to alert people of their presence.

Senator Ernie Chambers of Omaha mounted a filibuster against the bill, arguing that citizens shouldn't act as law enforcement officers.

The bill is LB399.

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