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Omaha police must clean up sloppy work

The Omaha Police Department has significantly strengthened its reputation in many ways in recent years. Chief Todd Schmaderer has shown skilled leadership at the helm. The department has improved its community relations and strengthened its clearance rate for solving homicide cases.

But the embarrassing spectacle in District Court last week, involving revelations of grievous examples of sloppy work by some Omaha police detectives, harmed the department's reputation.

Responsible action on this issue is needed for multiple reasons: To buttress public confidence. To send the message throughout the department that all members are expected to carry out their duties at the needed standard. And to ensure that the criminal justice system operates properly, with all needed information available to lawyers handling the cases.

With the new changes — and any further ones if needed — the Omaha Police Department needs to send the message, clearly and firmly, that all members are expected to fulfill their duties with the highest professional standard.

— Omaha World-Herald


National monuments show tourism at work

Imagine $11 million coming into the community from outside the area. Think of the jobs the influx of revenue could create.

Western Nebraska and eastern Wyoming do not have to imagine — it is happening.

Visitors to Scotts Bluff and Agate Fossil Beds national monuments spent $11 million in communities within a 60-mile radius of the parks, according to a new National Park Service report. The spending supported 164 jobs and had a cumulative impact of $12.3 million to the local economy.

Tourism around our national parks supports 306,000 jobs nationally with a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $35.8 billion — proof that tourism is big business and a business communities need to take very serious.

Western Nebraska is very fortunate to have not one, but two national parks in our backyard.

— Scottsbluff Star-Herald


Animal measures may have unintended consequences

The U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee voted to amend the next Farm Bill that would make it a federal crime to slaughter dogs or cats for human consumption or sell the meat from them.

Under the federal Animal Welfare Act, violators would face up to a year of prison time or a $2,500 fine. The amendment addresses "an issue of utmost concern for pet owners," according to Jocelyn Nickerson, Nebraska state director for the Humane Society of the United States.

But it isn't long until the logic breaks down.

More radical animal rights groups quickly exploited the argument and will use it to advance legislation harmful to Nebraska's livestock industry, given the chance.

We don't advocate eating domestic pets, but it's an issue that should be settled in the courts by the rule of law rather than by knee-jerk, emotional reactions.

— McCook Daily Gazette

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