History

The Omaha program began in 1982 under the direction of Mr. Joe Friend, Public Safety Director for the City of Omaha. This program was modeled after a Chaplain program in Johnson County, Kansas. The organizing members were Rev. Henry Gittler, Rev. Thomas Rollerson and Fr. Cannon.

Senior Chaplains

  • Rev. Lonnie R. Dinneen 2012-present
  • Rev. Dr. Damon Laaker 2007-2012
  • Rev. Dr. F. Cole Fowler 2005-2007
  • Rev. Dr. Damon Laaker 1996-2004
  • Rev. Henry Gittler 1982-1996

Liaisons

  • Deputy Chief Martin Crowley
  • Captain Michael Pecha
  • Lieutenant Barry DeJong
  • Deputy Chief Barb Hauptman
  • Sergeant Steve Cerveny
  • Captain Michele Bang (current)
  • Deputy Chief Elizabeth Davis (current)

Since the inception of the program, the Omaha Police Department has provided a marked vehicle and official credentialing that includes a chaplain identification badge. The approved uniform consists of a black clerical shirt with OPD shoulder patches and badge holder. A windbreaker style identification jacket is also provided. Various communication devices have been provided over the years.

Core Values

The Omaha program established four requirements that are still in effect today:

  1. Must be ordained clergy persons or vowed men and women in religious communities
  2. Must possess a college degree in addition to having theological training
  3. Must have served or be currently serving in a religious capacity
  4. Must adhere to the seal of confession