City of Omaha launches new diversion program

(Omaha, NE) -- A new diversion program is set to start in the City of Omaha.

The Omaha City Prosecutor, Omaha Police, and the City of Omaha Human Rights and Relations Department have created a new diversion program. Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert made the announcement during a press conference on Tuesday.

The Restorative Justice Program will offer a new option for minor offenses. DUI and assault charges are not eligible for the program.

According to a media release, the six-month program includes community service, a Restorative Justice class, and going six months without a criminal arrest.

After completing the program, the charges will be dismissed and the record will be sealed. “The Restorative Justice Program offers second chances,” said Stothert. “It offers them options. They don’t have to go into the program, but it’s one option they can have for a second chance.”

The program was proposed by Deputy Chief Michele Bang and the Omaha Police Officers Association President Tony Conner to create an alternative to usual prosecutions.

According to the release, five adults and 11 juveniles participated in the program after being arrested during the protests last summer. They all successfully completed the program. “The sessions provided officers and participants a chance to be heard, which led to better understanding. Oftentimes, people arrested for minor offenses are not at their best; they may be angry or intoxicated and often misunderstand the law.”

(Photo by WOWT 6 News)

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