The State Troopers Association of Nebraska has endorsed Democrat Bob Krist for governor.
Association President Brian Peterson says the patrol hasn’t kept up with adequate staffing under Republican Governor Pete Ricketts.
“You have to take a hard look at staffing requirements,” Petersen tells reporters at a Capitol news conference. “If it’s a 1970 or a 1980 staffing level and you’re trying to run it where we are today, it may not be effective. You have to have some comparability to what Iowa is doing, what Kansas is doing. There’s different degree of investigatory units vs. patrolling units, the units that you see on the road in the marked patrol car.”
The association says Krist, a state senator from Omaha, would protect public safety and support the members of the Nebraska State Patrol.
Peterson says the decision to endorse Krist over Ricketts came after an overwhelming vote of the association’s members in favor of Krist.
Krist has been critical of Gov. Ricketts for his hiring of Brad Rice as patrol superintendent, then having to let him go after an internal investigation of the patrol. Krist accuses Ricketts of mishandling the patrol.
“We paid a lot of attention to the things that really were not important and, overall, blamed the leadership after the governor actually put the leadership in place,” according to Krist. “So, I would say that rather than deflecting and blaming, you have to take responsibility for the decisions that you’ve made.”
Krist also criticizes Ricketts for backing a bill last session which he claims would have interfered with the collective bargaining rights of troopers.