Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert is reacting to accusations made by Douglas County Sheriff Tim Dunning.
Stothert says much of the disagreement stems from a plan that would have established a city-county crime lab at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Douglas County Sheriff’s Office currently runs the crime lab. Stothert says prior to those discussions back in 2016 the two shared a good relationship.
Stothert says, “I respect Sheriff Dunning and had his endorsement last time but I feel our relationship had been excellent until we started discussions about the merged crime lab.”
Dunning says he was brought in on the tail-end of conversations about merging the lab that is currently run by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department. Dunning says he blocked Stothert’s calls because she was yelling at him. Stothert says she didn’t know that Dunning had blocked her calls because she hadn’t tried to call him in a long time. She calls that action irresponsible. She says if there was a public safety issue and the county sheriff blocks the mayor from placing a call is concerning.
Stothert says, “I did call him several times after the crime lab discussions started. I left voice mails but he never returned my call at all. All of the voice mails were cordial. I can guarantee you I never called and yelled at Sheriff Dunning.”
Dunning also expressed concern that Omaha is annexing more subdivisions but there is not enough police to handle the expansion. He says it was just last month there was an accident that deputies handled because the nearest police officer was more than 150 blocks away. Stothert disagrees saying, “Things we do before we even make our annexation plans public or give it to the city council is that the police chief and the fire chief signs off on it. One of the main things we make sure is we have enough police officers, especially in west Omaha particularly because that is the area we are annexing.”