A battle of the badges erupted in the Omaha mayor’s race Thursday as Omaha’s police chief and the police union accused Douglas County Sheriff Tim Dunning of unprofessional conduct for comments in which Dunning blasted the mayor on crime.
Police Chief Todd Schmaderer joined forces with John Wells, the head of the police union, to denounce Dunning for saying that Omaha has become a “more dangerous place to live” under Mayor Jean Stothert.
Dunning, who has emerged as one of Stothert’s toughest critics, made the comments in an anti-Stothert political ad funded by a mystery group that refused to disclose its donors.
“I feel like Jean Stothert puts politics over public safety, and it’s making Omaha a more dangerous place to live,” Dunning says, staring straight into the camera.
The ad prompted a swift response from Schmaderer and Wells, who described their decision to respond jointly as unprecedented.
“Sheriff Dunning has crossed all professional boundaries and his statements should not be viewed as a portrait of the Omaha Police Department,” they wrote in their statement. The two also said they wanted to make it clear they were neither supporting nor opposing any candidate in the race.
Dunning stood by his comments, saying they were aimed at Stothert and not at the men and women in uniform.