Omaha Public Radio News
Mon March 29, 2010
New community policing partnership in South Omaha
By Katie Knapp Schubert
Omaha, NE – A new community policing partnership seeks to give the south Omaha community a place to bring their issues and concerns.
The partnership is called El Puente, or the bridge. It's a grassroots effort designed to build trust between south Omaha's Hispanic and Latino communities and the Police Department. Ben Salazar, project director of El Puente, hopes it'll be a conduit for the community to report its issues and concerns. Salazar says right now, some residents don't report crimes because of fear, intimidation, or lack of knowledge.
Three volunteers will staff the office at La Casa del Pueblo, along with Pastor Alberto Silva and Salazar. He says the office is open to all Omahans, of all ethnicities. The office is located inside Grace United Methodist Church at 25th and E Streets.
El Puente is working to get formal support from the Omaha Police Department. Salazar says they've discussed the program with Chief Alex Hayes and officers of the Southeast Precinct and received their support.