Tristan Bonn-Former Omaha Police Auditor
It never ceases to amaze me how little people in this town know about what goes on in other parts of this town. Is it any wonder City Hall is incapable of shaping any meaningful policy for North or South Omaha? For instance, right before the Super Bowl, the Omaha World Herald had one of these silly lifestyle pieces about two competitive brothers, presumably referencing the Harbaugh brothers of coaching fame.
But in the OWH, they featured the Clark brothers. Dan Clark is, coincidentally, the Buffet family body guard – a business Dan Clark, again according to the OWH, started and grew to 150 employees while he worked as an Omaha police officer! The International Association of Chiefs of Police opposes police officers moonlighting as security guards for the obvious conflicts of interest. That never stopped anyone at OPD though.
But beyond this conflict of interest, Dan Clark a.k.a. “Big Red” on the streets of North Omaha and at “Little Vietnam,” was one of the most reviled cops in North Omaha, legendary for his brutality. This news, according to literally scores of citizens, politicians and even other cops was most often reported to me as Auditor when I first arrived in Omaha. It would be nearly impossible for anyone to miss; it was so well-known in and about North Omaha.
So why is Dan Clark touted in retirement and how did he make it all the way to retirement with a reputation as such a bad actor? The answers are all arguments in favor of reinstating the Auditor’s Office. But last week, at a Mayoral forum in North Omaha, Dan Welch and Jean Stothert said they didn’t think an Auditor was needed. Brad Ashford said he opposed the position. And Suttle blamed lack of funds for not being able to get a Police Auditor, although he managed to fund a Bike and Parking Czar. Only Dave Nabity recognized that there was still so much distrust between North Omaha and OPD that an Auditor was needed.
Even beyond the community complaint, it is really as simple as accountability. Why would the City give the police department a pass on proficiency and performance? The single most important and powerful agency of government is more worthy of full-time oversight than any other governmental function, not less. But most of all, when you have a crime problem your police department hasn’t been able to manage; don’t you think you should check to see if your police department is really up to snuff?
No, not in Omaha – it is the community’s fault (I love it when, faced with their own failure, Democrats blame the victim). I guess that’s what this police department and Suttle mean by Community Policing, because they are not doing anything that remotely resembles what I know as community policing. Community policing does not mean blame the community for the crime!! Good grief!
And last but not least, if you have a sub-par police department and a high crime rate, wouldn’t a sensible person make the connection that the police department may have something to do with the intractable crime rate? In Omaha, we celebrate the most reviled cop, we blame the community for crime, and we don’t even know what goes on in our own communities. . .
Is it any wonder we have so much crime in Omaha?