An Omaha parole officer thought he heard gunfire outside of his home near 90th and Blondo Streets.
It was about 9 p.m. March 14, and the officer couldn’t figure out exactly what happened. Two days later, when he drove his pick-up, he noticed 18 small holes in the driver’s side door and called police, according to an Omaha Police Department report. The pick-up was parked in front of his house.
“This was an unusual and unfortunate set of circumstances,” said Bob Houston, director of the Nebraska Department of Corrections.
Authorities are unsure if the officer was targeted because he works closely with parolees and ex-convicts. However, they are treating the investigation as if he was “because of the nature of our job,” Houston said.
No arrests have been made.
Just days after the incident in Omaha, Tom Clements, head of the Colorado Department of Corrections, was shot to death at his home March 19. Houston considered Clements to be a friend and attended his funeral.
The killing of Clements and the Omaha incident, while unrelated, serve as reminders that working in corrections can be dangerous and put officers at risk, Houston said.
But, that doesn’t mean people involved in criminal justice should live in fear, he said.
Parole officers have extensive training in how to stay safe and keep their personal lives private. Parolees and inmates won’t find pictures of children or family members in officers’ offices, Houston said. And if an inmate or parolee starts asking questions about the officer’s personal life, the officer will steer the conversation in a different direction.
“(This officer) was certainly among the best trained parole officers. Things like this can still occur,” Houston said.