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Bill stalled in Legislature on civilian crime-prevention groups

Posted: 02/05/14 10:14

A Nebraska bill that would let civilian crime-prevention groups patrol the streets with flashing amber lights on their vehicles has stalled during second-round debate. Supporters fell one vote short today of the support needed to stop a filibuster by state Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha. Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh of Omaha says he introduced the measure so group members could use the caution lights to alert people of their presence. But on the floor today, Sen. Chambers was concerned about specific wording in LB399. Chambers has argued that citizens shouldn't act as law enforcement officers. The bill was inspired by citizen groups in Omaha that patrol neighborhoods to deter crime. The groups are taught by police to observe and report crimes, but they aren't supposed to confront the perpetrators.