Sgt. Aaron Hanson of the Omaha Police Department is running for Sheriff of Douglas County. He has been with the OPD for nearly 25 years and also served as President of the Omaha Police Officers Association. On Thursday, Sept. 8, he spoke to the River City Republicans on about a number of issues affecting people in the Omaha metro area.
One issue was criminals fleeing police in order to avoid a felony charge. “Gang members and criminals were running from the police high-speed chases, and when the police would stop them, unless the police could prove that they were running because they committed a felony, it was a misdemeanor,” Hanson said. “So what would they do? They’d run from the police fast and long enough to throw their gun out the window, throw their drugs out the window, and then once we stopped them they’d go, ‘oh geez that was a poor choice, I’ll take my ticket.'”
Hanson pointed out one guest who helped solve this problem. “We had Pete Pirsch as a state senator, who had street-level experience as a prosecutor, and he was having none of that. So he passed a law and actually beat Ernie Chambers to make it an automatic felony if you engage in reckless driving to run from the police — regardless of the reason.”
One guest asked Hanson about illegal immigration “It’s a federal issue,” Hanson said. “But the minute they commit a serious crime in our community, and if we believe that they are not in the country legally, we need to be reporting them to the feds immediately. Because if not they’ll bond out and they’ll leave.”
Hanson said this is can be difficult, in part because of a flaw in the DMV reporting system for individuals stopped without identification. They are given “dummy” numbers in the system that look exactly like legitimate Nebraska ID numbers and make it harder to identify them later as being undocumented. “The individual who killed Sarah Root, I look back at his criminal history, and the very first encounter he had with the police, his very first arrest, no Nebraska ID number. The very next incident with the police — Nebraska ID.”
Hanson also talked about the dangers of fentanyl. “There are three times as many people in this community dying at the hands of fentanyl dealers than drive-by shooters, than murderers,” Hanson said. “[Douglas County Attorney] Don Kleine and I had to go down to Lincoln and actually successfully fight to stop legislators from enacting California-style sentencing reform in Nebraska which would have dropped the sentences on those very fentanyl dealers.”
Among other topics included using firearms for self-defense. One guest was particularly concerned about a woman in Memphis who was raped and killed while jogging in her own neighborhood. She and wanted to know if she should consider carrying a firearm. “If in your mind you’re even questioning, that then I think what you should do is go buy an appropriate like a satchel, like a cross body satchel,” Hanson said. “But the most important thing is to train, because you have to be ready for when that happens. If you’re not ready for that adrenaline dump, when the aggressor does come, very likely you will fail.”
Hanson mentioned that his son decided not to follow in his footsteps and become a police officer. As his sold told him, “I watch too much YouTube. I don’t think I can do what you do. I’m afraid I’m going to make the wrong split second decision and go to prison for the rest of my life.”
Sgt. Hanson will be on the ballot in the midterm election on Nov. 8 this year.
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