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Judiciary Committee advances three police bills
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Judiciary Committee advances three police bills

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Three bills aimed at tightening control on law enforcement were advanced Tuesday by the Judiciary Committee for debate by the full Legislature.

All three bills are by Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, a frequent critic of law enforcement.

The first bill (LB541) would make public all hearings and documents produced from an arbitration hearing involving disciplinary action against a law enforcement officer. Now, the process is closed.

Chambers has said taxpayers have the right to total disclosure of how public employees are behaving -- and misbehaving.

"The right of public to know transcends any desire for secrecy of alleged wrongdoing public employees," he said in his statement justifying the bill. "Public trust and confidence are neither fostered nor nurtured by such secrecy."

The second bill (LB538) would temporarily suspend the certificate of a law enforcement officer deemed to be physically, mentally or emotionally incapacitated. The certificate would be revoked if the incapacitation was ruled permanent.

Chambers said there have been instances in which an officer has gone on paid leave after being declared incapacitated and then taken a law enforcement job in another jurisdiction.

The third bill (LB267) would prohibit police from using people on parole, probation or work release as undercover agents or employees. The bill would make any evidence gathered in violation of the law inadmissible in court.

Chambers has said people on parole or probation or work release are vulnerable and susceptible to pressure and manipulation by police.

Reach Kevin O'Hanlon at 402-473-2682 or kohanlon@journalstar.com.
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