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opposed a fair housing law. But they also complained that the union had done

nothing to end discriminatory practices by the department that had resulted in

the absence of black officers from either the identification bureau or the

vice squad and the failure to send most black officers to out-of-town police

schools or seminars. One of the black officers alleged that: "If there is a

call about a disturbance or a man with a gun on the Near North Side, they will

send one Negro officer. If none is available, they send two or three white


Both the police chief and the city's human relations director stated that they had received no formal complaints on those issues. 14

The city's first affirmative action plan was approved in 1975 and a

revised affirmative action plan was approved by Mayor Al Veys, Aug. 8, 1979.15 This plan called for an increase in minority hiring in protective service occupations (which include police and fire department entry level

workers) of 0.9 percent per year and an increase in female hiring of 1.7

percent per year for five years.


Even allowing for the inclusion of the

fire department, this is considerably less than the city subsequently agreed to in a consent decree. The city is currently revising its affirmative action

policy. The city personnel director, Gary Troutman, believes that if the city

had been more alert and conscious of affirmative action in the past, it is

possible legal actions by black officers and the Department of Justice could have been avoided. 17

In July 1979 the black police organization, the Brotherhood of Midwest

Guardians, filed suit alleging racial discrimination in employment by the

city. That suit ultimately was supported by the U.S. Department of Justice

and resulted in a consent decree that provided for a dramatic increase in the

proportion of black officers over a period of years. The decree provides

that, subject to the availability of qualified applicants, the city of Omaha

must achieve a long term goal of hiring a sufficient number of black sworn

officers so that by 1987

9.5 percent of the work force will be black

officers. Interim goals are to fill at least 40 percent of all vacancies in

the sworn entry positions with qualified black applicants until black officers

make up six percent of the sworn personnel, and then to fill one-third of all

entry level vacancies with qualified black applicants until the sworn work

force is eight percent black, and thereafter to fill 25 percent of all entry level positions with qualified black applicants until the long term goal is achieved. No goals were established for other minorities or women. 18

I.C. Plaza, chairperson of Nebraska's Mexican American Commission, and Joe

Ramirez, director of the Chicano Awareness Center, mentioned the consent

decree as a source of resentment in the Hispanic community. Both stated that

the decree benefited only black officers and that Hispanics still suffered from employment discrimination.19 University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO)

Associate Professor Sam Walker commented that he believed the nonminority officers also are resentful of the decree.


In commenting on the draft of

this report, Mr. Walker added that he believes that for many white officers

the consent decree was a "scapegoat" to vent their concern about the lack of

opportunities for professional development, the lack of promotional opportunities, and their sense of alienation from the top command.

In Mr.

Walker's opinion, the city officials added to the problem by failing to explain and defend the consent decree to the officers.21

Regarding the

consent decree, Gary Troutman, personnel director for the city, said he does

not believe enough has been done to explain it to the police officers. He

believes that when the officers realize the police division will not suffer because of the decree, the opposition will disappear.22

Promotions are an important part of affirmative action.

The consent

decree touched briefly on the issue, providing: "For promotional sworn

positions in the Omaha Police Division, the interim goal shall be to appoint

qualified blacks in at least the proportion that these groups are represented in the classes of employees eligible for promotion.'


According to the Omaha police manual, captains must have seven years

experience in police work, including two years as police lieutenants; while

lieutenants must have six years experience, including two years as police or detective sergeants.24 Sergeants are required to have four years of experience as patrol officers. Years of police work in another city of

comparable size and population can be substituted for two years of the

25 required experience for sergeants. In addition to the requisite number of

years of experience, written and other examinations are a part of the promotion process. 26

In 1979 and 1980 five persons, all white' males, were promoted to lieutenant. During the same period, ten persons, nine white males and one black male, were promoted to sergeant.27 There were no promotions to captain during this time period. 28 As of June 1980, there were one black

lieutenant, two black sergeants and 20 black police officers in the division.

The city did not provide information on the seniority of the officers so it

was impossible for the Advisory Committee to determine how many, if any,

minority officers were eligible to take the promotion examinations. Those who

were promoted to lieutenant during 1979-1980 averaged 17.25 years on the force while those promoted to sergeant averaged eight years.29

Current Recruitment and Selection Efforts

The National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals

has suggested: "Every police agency seeking to employ qualified ethnic

minority members should research, develop and implement specialized minority recruitment methods. 130 Such efforts were mandated by the consent

decree. 31

Mr. Troutman stated that recruitment for the last few training classes was

a combined effort by police officers, the Interdenominational Ministerial

Alliance and the personnel department. Advertisements were placed in all the

media, job announcements were placed in neighborhood gathering places and

recruitment was done at the colleges. Mr. Troutman said recruitment at the

colleges was done while they were in session except for one class for which recruitment was done during the summer. 32 A list of recruitment sources

used for the September 1981 class shows 84 contacts ranging from out-of-State

universities and colleges to local minority organizations, church groups and

individuals. The NAACP, Urban League, Chicano Awareness Center, United

Indians of Nebraska and American Indian Center were on the list as was a

member of the Ministerial Alliance, although the organization itself was not.33 Mr. Troutman also asserted that contact had been made with the

Midwest Guardians regarding recruitment although the president of that

34 organization, James Patterson, said he was never contacted. In commenting

on the draft, Mr. Troutman clarified this point by stating that a black

officer had been consulted regarding recruitment in October 1981 but the Midwest Guardians organization had not been contacted.35

Mr. Troutman stated that in 1979 there had been a strong recruitment

effort in which officers were assigned to do recruitment; but that this was

abandoned because then Chief Richard Andersen felt it was more critical to

have the officers on the street. Mr. Troutman stated he would like to have

police officers made available to him for recruitment programs because they

can give a firsthand viewpoint on police work while his people give information on city personnel regulations and benefits. However, he stated

that he understands the division's reluctance to use officers this way while

it is understaffed. Currently, one person in the personnel department has

been responsible for recruitment for all city departments in addition to other

responsibilities. Mr. Troutman hopes to use more personnel department staff to do recruitment for the police division in the future. 36 He believes that

one of the problems the city has had with police recruitment is the "lack of credibility" the police division has in the minority community.37 At least

some citizens agree with him on that point, saying that the police division has an image problem which hinders recruitment in the minority community.


Members of the Midwest Guardians believe most recruitment in the black

community has been done by the black officers. They said no one is designated

to do recruitment and alleged that recruitment is done at the universities when the classes are not in session.39 1.C. Plaza and Joe Ramirez

maintained that there were no recruitment programs directed at Hispanics and

that recruitment in the Hispanic community was done by Hispanic officers on their own initiative.40 Mr. Troutman said that in 1981 recruitment contacts

were made with the Chicano Awareness Center, Amigos de See and G.I. Forum, all

Hispanic organizations. In addition there was an information booth at the
Cinco de Mayo celebration.41 Rita Garcia, director of the Indian-Chicano
Health Center, said she thought a good job of advertising had been done for
the September 1981 class. Ms. Garcia also said that she had tried to interest

some Hispanics in taking the written examination but had not been


The department did not meet the goals of the consent decree in its

December 1980 recruit class. The class of 15 began with six black recruits

but one was dropped for academic reasons as was a white male, and a second

black recruit resigned, leaving the class only 33.3 percent black, instead of the 40 percent mandated by the consent decree. 43

The department also experienced difficulty in meeting its target for the

second class following the decree. Initially, the World-Herald reported, 550 persons, 124 of whom were black, began the testing process. But by June 1981

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