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Omaha police working with FBI on local security ahead of inauguration

Omaha police working with FBI on local security ahead of inauguration

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Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer

The Omaha field office of the FBI is working with local and state law enforcement to ward off any potential violence related to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, and it’s seeking the public’s help.

Late Thursday afternoon, the FBI and the Omaha Police Department issued a joint statement underscoring their heightened efforts. The FBI has set up a joint command with law enforcement, a type of partnership that encourages better communication and clearer chains of command.

The FBI has not received “specific and substantial threats” to the State Capitol in Lincoln or other government buildings in this area, said Omaha Police Lt. Sherie Thomas.

Anyone with knowledge of potential violence is asked to call the FBI in Omaha at 402-493-8688. If the threat is immediate, people are asked to call 911.

Special Agent in Charge Eugene Kowel said the agency is focused on disrupting anyone who incites violence or engages in criminal activity.

“Between now and the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20, we will maintain a heightened posture to monitor for any emerging threats to our region,” he said.

On Wednesday, the FBI held a national conference call with law enforcement officers from the nation’s largest cities to address concerns about security. A representative of the Omaha Police Department was on that call, Thomas said. She said she could not discuss the specifics of the call.

In the statement released Thursday, Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said the department is committed to early detection and preparedness for any threats to the Omaha community.

“We have stepped up our efforts on both leading up to the presidential inauguration,” he said.

As of midday Thursday, federal officials had not identified any Nebraskans as participating in the attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The Department of Justice has set up a website that lists all the defendants so far.


Photos: National Guard troops deployed on Capitol Hill

Omaha World-Herald: Afternoon Update

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Nancy Gaarder helps cover public safety and weather events as an editor on The World-Herald's breaking news desk. Follow her on Twitter @gaarder. Email: nancy.gaarder@owh.com

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