An investigation of the Nebraska State Patrol by the Ricketts Administration finds fault with former Superintendent Brad Rice as well as the conduct of the chain of command during two use-of-force incidents.
Gov. Pete Ricketts appointed Chief Human Resource Officer Jason Jackson June 23rd to investigate the patrol after allegations surfaced that Col. Rice exerted inappropriate influence over four internal affairs investigations.
“That inappropriate conduct was the catalyst, of course, for the governor’s decision to terminate Col. Rice several weeks ago,” Jackson tells reporters during a news conference at the Capitol.
Five others have been suspended over allegations of dishonesty and dereliction of duty in two investigations into whether troopers used excessive force.
Ricketts says due process will be followed in those cases.
“Obviously, the colonel serves at my pleasure,” Ricketts says. “So, if the colonel is not behaving up to my expectations, I can relieve him immediately, which is what we did do.”
Ricketts has released the investigation of Jackson.
Jackson alleges Rice “inappropriately interfered with internal affairs investigations on at least four occasions; he violated the agency’s workplace harassment/equal opportunity policy; and engaged in an unduly familiar relationship with the State Patrol union.”
Ricketts fired Rice June 30th after receiving the preliminary report of Jackson’s investigation.
The investigation also states how the NSP chain of commanded handled two allegations troopers used excessive force raises suspicions of dishonesty and dereliction of duty. In one case, a trooper used a tactical maneuver during a pursuit, resulting in a wreck in which the suspect died. The second case involved allegations a trooper hit a drunk suspect in the head with a rifle butt.
Jackson also states NSP failed to forward 12 cases of misconduct onto the Crime Commission as required by law. His investigation also faults the patrol’s sexual harassment and workplace harassment policies and accuses the patrol of failing to address charges of misconduct.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]
AUDIO: Gov. Pete Ricketts and HR Officer Jason Jackson discuss the investigation into the NSP. [15 minutes]