OMAHA (KPTM)- A violent felon on a 48 hour pass from prison was shot and killed by police. The Omaha Police Union said something needs to be done about the prisoner furlough system.
"We arrested this person, they were convicted of a violent crime, Felon in Possession of a Handgun and they were incarcerated. And then you throw in a furlough and they're really not even in jail. They're in jail during the week but then they're out on the weekends?" Police Officers Association President John Wells said.
The police union President is talking about Jermaine Lucas. Officers shot and killed him Sunday morning after they say he lunged for a gun. Lucas was out of jail for the weekend on furlough. This was the 11th time he had been put behind bars since 2003. Police say he had around 10 furloughs before this one.
"Are there more people like this? Because this puts the taxpayers in danger, this puts officers at risk and quite frankly this person is a known gang leader with a violent past that has absolutely no business being furloughed."
Prisoners are awarded points for good behavior. They're generally allowed out on furloughs for four different reasons: personal needs like shopping and haircuts, program passes like GED's and substance abuse counseling, religious activity passes and job seeking passes. But the association is questioning whether that chance should be given to people who had committed a violent crime.
"It raises some red flags, it's very concerning. Of course our first question is if this person was out on a furlough and we believe it's inappropriate that he was, how many other high-risk offenders, violent criminals are out on furloughs each and every weekend in this city?" Wells adds.
It's an answer he said the taxpayers deserve. The Police Association said it will submit public record requests to the correctional department in the coming weeks to learn why Lucas was allowed on furlough.
The group encourages voters to contact their state senators if they want to see procedures changed.