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A report of the Nebraska Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights prepared for the information and consideration of the Commission. This report will be considered by the Commission, and the Commission will make public its reaction. In the meantime, the findings and recommendations of this report should not be attributed to the Commission but only to the Nebraska Advisory Committee.
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN LIBRARIES
THE UNITED STATES COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS The United States Commission on Civil Rights, created by the Civil Rights Act of 1957, is an independent, bipartisan agency of the executive branch of the Federal Government. By the terms of the act, as amended, the Comunission is charged with the following duties pertaining to discrimination or denials of the equal protection of the laws based on race, color, religion, sex, age, handicap, or national origin, or in the administration of justice; investigation of individual discriminatory denials of the right to vote; study of legal developments with respect to discrimination or denials of the equal protection of the law; appraisal of the laws and policies of the United States with respect to discrimination or denials of equal protection of the law; maintenance of a national clearinghouse for information respecting discrimination or denials of equal protection of the law; and investigation of patterns or practices of fraud or discrimination in the conduct of Federal elections. The Commission is also required to submit reports to the President and the Congress at such times as the Commission, the Congress, or the President shall deem desirable.
THE STATE ADVISORY COMMITTEES An Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights has been established in each of the 50 States and the District of Columbia pursuant to section 105(c) of the Civil Rights Act of 1957 as amended. The Advisory Committees are made up of responsible persons who serve without compensation. Their functions under their mandate from the Commission are to: advise the Commission of all relevant information concerning their respective States on matters within the jurisdiction of the Commission; advise the Commission on matters of mutual concern in the preparation of reports of the Commission to the President and the Congress; receive reports, suggestions, and recommendations from individuals, public and private organizations, and public officials upon matters pertinent to inquiries conducted by the State Advisory Committee; initiate and forward advice and recommendations to the Commission upon matters which the State Advisory Committee has studied; and attend, as observers, any open hearing or conference which the Commission may hold within the State.
ATTRIBUTION: The findings and recommendations contained in this report are those of the Nebraska Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights and, as such, are not attributable to the Commission. This report has been prepared by the State Advisory Committee for submission to the Commission and will be considered by the Commission in forinulating its recommendations to the President and the Congress.
RIGHT OF RESPONSE: Prior to the publication of a report, the State Advisory Committee affords to all individuals or organizations that may be defamed, degraded, or incriminated by any material contained in the report an opportunity to respond in writing to such material. All responses have been incorporated, appended, or otherwise reflected in the publication.
The Nebraska Advisory Committee submits this report of its review on police-community relations in Omaha, Nebraska, as part of its responsibility to advise the Commission on civil rights issues within the State.
The Advisory Committee and staff of the Central States Regional Office interviewed a wide range of individuals during the period May 1981 to December 1981 including the mayor, chief of police and some police officers, other city officials and concerned citizens. Those persons who were interviewed were given an opportunity to comment on the draft of the report. Where appropriate, comments and corrections indicated by them have been incorporated into the final report.
The Advisory Committee found that although the city has made some efforts to recruit minorities and women, these efforts have not enabled it to meet the terms of the 1980 consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Midwest Guardians, an organization of black police officers. The Advisory Committee urges the mayor to direct the city personnel department and police division to develop and implement a joint recruitment program. The chief of police should assign at least one full-time position within the division the responsibility to actively recruit minority applicants. All officers should be urged to make ad hoc efforts to recruit minorities and women and those who successfully recruit candidates who begin the examination process should be rewarded with monetary and/or special commendations useful in promotional decisions.
The Advisory Committee found that the 1980 consent decree has been the source of resentment, misunderstanding and hostility within the police division and community and urges the chief of police to add a review of the consent decree to recruit and inservice training.
The Advisory Committee found that only one of the employment selection devices used by the police division has been validated for job relatedness. The Committee also found many people lacked confidence in the fairness and impartiality of the selection devices, particularly regarding the polygraph examination and oral interviews. The Advisory Committee urges the personnel department to validate all portions of the selection process and to complete its review of the polygraph examination and oral interview as soon as possible. If either selection device is found to discriminate against women or minorities, it should be amended or eliminated.