Gov. Pete Ricketts has ordered a review of the Nebraska State Patrol after questions arose about how the patrol reported a fatal high-speed chase in western Nebraska.
Allegations have arisen that leadership at the patrol exerted pressure to change the initial report of the accident in October.
The driver of the pursued car, Antoine LaDeaux, was killed after his car rolled. The trooper initially reported he used a tactical maneuver intended to bump the car into a spin and end the pursuit.
“So to that end, I have asked my chief Human Resource Officer, Jason Jackson, to conduct a review of policies, procedures, and leadership to look for areas of how we can improve our operations of the Nebraska State Patrol,” Ricketts tells reporters during a news conference at NSP headquarters.
Chief Human Resources Officer Jason Jackson says he will go where the facts lead.
“The intent will be comprehensive in nature, a complete review of everything ranging from the policies, procedures, practices, training, leadership conduct all of which influence overall organizational performance,” according to Jackson.
NSP Superintendent Brad Rice told the Omaha World-Herald no pressure was exerted to change the report to conclude the death was a result of an accident rather than a crash precipitated by one of his troopers.
Rice did not attend the news conference.
Ricketts expresses faith in Rice and has kept him on as NSP superintendent even as he calls for an investigation of procedures of his agency.
Ricketts also says the review of the NSP goes beyond the fatal crash in Sheridan County.
“The grand jury found that the trooper in this particular case behaved appropriately,” Ricketts says. “What we’re talking about is how was the internal matter handled, which is really what the opportunity for improvement is in the future.”
The review was also prompted by a grievance filed against NSP by the State Law Enforcement Bargaining Council questioning the safety of the body armor issued to troopers.