Omaha picks OPD veteran as new police chief

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August 14th, 2012

Omaha, NE – The City of Omaha announced it has chosen a new chief to lead the Omaha Police Department, and it’s a familiar name for those in the force.

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Todd Schmaderer is a veteran of the Omaha Police Department. He’s a deputy police chief and has been with the Omaha police force since 1996. Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle announced his new hire at a press conference Tuesday morning. He said out of 70 initial applicants and four final candidates, including two external candidates, Schmaderer rose to the top.

“He understands my commitment to removing gangs and illegal guns from the streets of Omaha,” Suttle said. “He understands that using innovation and technology to both lower costs and increase public safety are important criteria.”

“Todd is a man of character,” Suttle said. “He shares my commitment to trust and accountability.”

Todd Schmaderer is a 16-year veteran of the Omaha Police Department. Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle announced Tuesday he has been appointed police chief. (Photo by Robyn Wisch)

Schmaderer will be the city’s fourth police chief in just five years. He’s replacing Alex Hayes, who retired in March after two and a half years on the job. But Schmaderer, who is a young chief at just 40 years old, sought to put fears of further instability to rest. He said he has a strong commitment to Omaha, and that his family is “entrenched” in the city. He added long-term planning is one of his top priorities and he plans to stay long enough in the position to see a number of strategic goals implemented.

He also said he plans to stay long enough to at least see his full retirement plan to fruition. “I’ve got about 17 years on this job,” Schmaderer said. “You really have to have 25 years until you get that maximum retirement number, so you can do the math there. I want to stay till I get my max. That’s eight years.”

“But I don’t look at things that way,” Schmaderer added. “I’ve got some strategic plans I want to put in place, and those strategic plans are two to three years down the road. I’d like to see us through two or three of those.”

Schmaderer said his other top priorities are to modernize the police force and focus on community policing. Asked whether he would support the reinstatement of an independent police auditor to restore trust in some parts of the city, Schmaderer said he would, but also that he would demand professionalism from his officers.

“I support oversight,” Schmaderer said. “But I also feel the Omaha Police Department, we do police.”

“We know how to investigate,” he said. “We know how to look for trends and we know how to police ourselves, if you will. But I have absolutely no problem with anybody taking an oversight or looking over our shoulder while we do that.”

Schmaderer will officially take office as chief of police Wednesday evening during a swearing-in ceremony, where interim chief Dave Baker will step down.

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