Charges against former Papillion police chief are dropped after diversion program

Charges against former Papillion police chief are dropped after diversion program
Leonard Houloose

Misdemeanor charges have been dropped against former Papillion Police Chief Leonard Houloose after he completed a substance abuse diversion program, officials in Sarpy County say.

Houloose was arrested on suspicion of several misdemeanorsabout noon Sept. 28 after Papillion police officers received at tip that he was intoxicated and they saw him driving, police reported at the time.

The officers conducted a traffic stop near 96th Street and Giles Road. Houloose was taken to a medical facility and, once cleared, was booked into jail on suspicion of drunken driving, carrying a concealed weapon, having an open alcohol container, refusing to submit to a preliminary breath test and refusing a chemical test.

Houloose, 59, was with the department for 22 years, 14 of those as chief. Current Chief Scott Lyons took over in 2015.

At the time of his arrest, Houloose was the golf course director of Tara Hills and Eagle Hills golf courses, employed by the City of Papillion. He has since retired and is focusing on his recovery, said Dean Loftus, the Sarpy County mental health diversion manager.

Houloose completed a program that included treatment for alcohol and prescription drug abuse and an inpatient stay at a clinic in Minnesota, Loftus said. That allowed the charges to be dropped.

“He has completed a very extensive treatment program for alcohol and substance abuse and mental health, and he continues to participate in an after-care program,” Loftus said. “He just got to a very, very bad point in his life.”

Houloose now mentors and leads groups of other recovering addicts and helps them through their first phases of recovery, Loftus said.

“He is probably the most dedicated person to recovery that I have dealt with,” Loftus said.

Attempts to reach Houloose for comment Wednesday night were unsuccessful.

During Houloose’s time as chief, the department grew from 25 to 40 sworn officers, became a member of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies and moved to a new police station. He was the longest-serving chief in Papillion history.

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