Omaha City Council President Chris Jerram drafted an amendment to the proposed 2021 budget to take funds from the Police Department and allocate them to employment and health services. Jerram suggested that $2 million, or 1.2%, be taken from the Omaha Police Department’s proposed $161.3 million budget and given to another programming.
Omaha City Council Votes Against Funding Mental Health & Job Training Programs in Omaha
Under Jerram’s amendment, $500,000 would be given to Heartland Workforce Solutions and $1.5 million to community health and human services for “behavioral health counseling, mental health crisis diagnosis, treatment and response, mental/behavioral health rehabilitation services and other related treatment, housing, safety, and support services.”
A 2-million-dollar cut is a small 1 percent cut of the police budget.
The 2021 budget proposal would increase police spending by $1.96 million — or 1.2% — over this year’s allocated budget. Jerram’s amendment, if ratified, would mean that the Police Department would get almost the same amount of money next year as it’s getting this year.
Mayor Jean Stothert and Police Chief Todd Schmaderer swiftly opposed Jerram’s proposal. On August 14, 2020, Mayor Jean Stothert pledged to veto any amendments to the 2021 City budget to defund the Omaha Police Department. Schmaderer has been police chief since 2012. He said he and Stothert formulated a “data-driven, empirical” policing plan to account for growth in the city.
District 2 Omaha City Councilman Ben Gray
Omaha city councilman of district 2 Ben Gray, the lone African American on the council, did not support the amendment and doesn’t believe in defunding the police.
Councilmember Ben Gray said he didn’t support this resolution, to the dismay of many constituents, precisely because he’s afraid of who Schmaderer would have to fire. Over his time on the council, Gray said diversity in the department has grown significantly. If any of those officers lost their jobs, it would undo years of work he said.
Vote For David Mitchell City Council District 2
Future city council candidate David Mitchell believes Councilman’s Chris Jerrams plan was reasonable and he was following the will of the constituents. It’s sad to see that the only black man on the city council, Ben Gray, doesn’t even pay attention to his own constituents. North Omaha demanded the defunding of the Omaha police department and Ben Gray did not follow suit. It’s time for a change in the city council and it’s time for a change now. We need real and true leadership to lead the people to success, not a failure.
It is Time For a Change! It is Time To Grow North Omaha!
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