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Last updated March 5, 2020
No knock warrants
Nebraska has not yet enacted a law eliminating the use of no-knock warrants. However, the police department is responsible for the cost of anything that is broken. Nebraskan Revised Statute 29-411 can be amended to ban/restrict no-knock warrants.
Nebraska has not yet enacted a law ending its participation in programs that facilitate the transfer of military weapons from the federal government to police departments.
Military style training
Nebraska has not yet enacted a law refocusing training away from self-defense responses and towards community centered training like that offered by Blue Courage. Some cities have police community engagement programs like Omaha's Police Athletics for Community Engagement (PACE) which involves kids in sports to reduce their likelihood of joining a gang. These courses and engagement programs, however, are not required statewide.
Nebraska has not yet enacted a law requiring the recording and cataloging of SWAT team use.
Civil asset forfeiture
Nebraska bill LB 1106 passed in 2016 abolishes and replaces civil forfeiture with criminal forfeiture which requires a criminal conviction to seize property. The bill also bans transferring seized property valued under $25,000 to federal agencies, creates new reporting requirements, and requires clear and convincing evidence as the burden of proof. However, officers can still use up to 50% of funds seized for their own purposes. Like in other states, this can be reduced to 0%.
Nebraska bill LB204 bans quotas for any type of periodic citation including traffic citations and memoranda of traffic violations, but there is no legislative ban on low level arrests quotas.
Cost of misconduct
Nebraska has not yet enacted a law requiring police departments (not state general funds) to cover the cost of misconduct. Locally, the Omaha City Council makes payments to victims of police misconduct.
Nebraska has not yet enacted a law decriminalizing minor offenses that do not threaten public safety such as spitting and loitering. These laws tend to vary by city and region with no broad direction at the state level.
Objective justification for stops
LB 924, passed in August 2020 " prohibits the detention of any person or a motor vehicle stop when such action is motivated by racial profiling." However, this law does not define standards of 'objective justification.'
Reporting stop details
LB 924 also requires that for any motor vehicle stop, officers must report the race/ethnicity of the person stopped, the reason for the stop, and any searches or arrests made during the course of the stop. However, this data collection is specific to motor vehicle stops and does not track the presence or use of a weapon.
Reckless civil rights violation
Nebraska has not yet enacted a law lowering the prosecution requirement from ‘willful’ to ‘reckless’ deprivation of another’s rights. Nebraskan Statute 28-926 states a police officer must "designedly, willfully, or corruptly" oppress a citizen to be charged with a level II misdemeanor.
In 2016, the Nebraskan State Legislature passed LB1000 which requires an independent prosecuting team and grand jury to investigate deaths that occur during apprehension or in police custody. The teams are composed of the county attorney and three police officers, two of whom are from an agency other than the one under investigation. However, Nebraska still lacks an independent office at the state level to investigate (or coordinate investigations) police misconduct.
Nebraska has not yet enacted a law ending qualified immunity.
Mental health response
Nebraska has not yet enacted a law creating and funding a mental health task force available to respond to crisis calls (in lieu of police). In some cases, officers are trained to respond to mental health crises. Additionally, Lutheran Family Services partners with various law enforcement agencies in the state to provide mental health practitioners to respond with officers to a mental health crisis.
Education, Housing, Community Health Resources
It is important to note that policing does not address the roots of social disadvantage and barriers to (economic) opportunity that often lead to crime. Nor should police be burdened with that responsibility.
Without access to quality resources in healthcare, education, and housing, our cities, neighborhoods, and families will continue to suffer. We should instead reassess the budgets of the state government and reinvest in the services that matter most.
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