Mayor Jean Stothert issued the following statement today regarding Sheriff Tim Dunning’s endorsement of one of her opponents:

“I respect Sheriff Dunning and was pleased to have his endorsement in my first race for mayor.

“Our relationship had been excellent until we started discussions about a merged crime lab in 2016.

“His decision to support my opponent is clearly a result of his opposition to the merger and the recent decision by Police Chief Todd Schmaderer to use the University of Nebraska Medical Center for evidence testing, rather than the sheriff’s crime lab. These decisions are not personal, to me it is business and how to best serve the taxpayers. I support Chief Schmaderer’s decision.

“Despite the overwhelming support of Chief Schmaderer, Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine, the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the Nebraska Organ Recovery System, the Lions Eye Bank, and a legislative committee, which Mr. Mello served on, Sheriff Dunning opposed the crime lab merger from the start. Many chiefs before Chief Schmaderer have tried unsuccessfully to negotiate law enforcement mergers with Sheriff Dunning and he has consistently been opposed.

“The statements made today by Sheriff Dunning and Mr. Mello about annexation, public safety, response times, staffing and crime lab negotiations are simply wrong and is a slap in the face to Chief Schmaderer and the Omaha Police Department.

“If candidate Mello and Sheriff Dunning have agreed to rescind the Police Chief’s decision to move crime lab services to UNMC then he should explain that to voters before the election.”