Omahans will have a new way to have their complaints against sworn police officers heard.
Mayor Jean Stothert signed an executive order Friday morning creating the Citizen Complaint Review Board. It’ll have five members: one from each police precinct, and an at-large member. There are also three advisory members from the city and police department. When a citizen files a request for review, the CCRB will review the process, identify areas of concern, and make recommendations.
Stothert says the board will operate differently than the city’s Police Auditor did.
“The main purpose of this is to build trust between our citizens and the police department, the police department needs that to solve crimes, and I think just having the citizens on this board will be much more effective and will achieve what we want to achieve.”
Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer says the new board will provide an important level of oversight.
“As Chief, I’ve always been a proponent of civilian oversight in some form. But I’m also cognizant of the fact that it is the Police Chief’s job to set a culture within the department and to hand out discipline to further that culture, and this board satisfies both of those areas to a level that I feel is very important, and it provides the transparency and maintains the authority of the Police Chief.”
Board members won’t have investigative or subpoena power. Their findings will go to Mayor Stothert, who then may pass the information on to relevant parties.
Anyone interested in applying for a spot on the CCRB can download a form from mayors-office.cityofomaha.org. Applications will be taken for a month, and members are appointed by Mayor Stothert.
The executive order says the board will meet at least monthly.
The Mayor’s office website will also have the citizen request for review forms available once the CCRB is set up.