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KBPY Public File

(Neb)-Report On NSP Released, No New Details On Suspensions

By: John Axtell Posted at: 08/03/2017 05:00 PM
Jackson’s full final report and executive summary, are available by clicking here.

LINCOLN -  Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and chief state human resources officer Jason Jackson have released the executive summary of Jackson's internal investigation into the Nebraska State Patrol, but
the report leaves a lot of questions unanswered because of on-going investigations and litigation.

      Most of the details released gave more background on the firing last month of State Patrol Superintendent Colonel Brad Rice, with Jackson concluding among other things that Rice exerted “inappropriate influence” over internal investigations on four occasions.

     Jackson also found that Rice’s response to allegations of workplace harassment was far below expectations, and that there were potential improprieties in the chain of command, specifically in response to two use-of-force cases, both in the Panhandle.

     One case involved a high-speed chase in Sheridan County that ended with a fatal accident after a trooper made contact with the suspect vehicle. The other case was from a traffic stop in Sioux County following another high-speed chase in which a trooper rifle-butted a drunken suspect in the head while the suspect was on the ground.

     Jackson's report calls for removing a provision of the union contract with troopers that gives the union a role in agency internal investigations of misconduct, and for a policy change to make it clear the Patrol will notify the Nebraska Crime Commission if a trooper leaves as a result of an incident that could lead to the loss of the officer's certification, a role that falls to the commission.

    Acting Patrol Superintendent Major Russ Stanczyk issued a statement saying all personnel had cooperated fully with Jackson in an effort to improve the agency and that they welcome the findings.

      Stanczyk also said that, based on conversations throughout the process, the Patrol has already begun to implement some of the Jackson's recommendations and that it looks forward to continued work with Jackson and Governor Ricketts in their shared goal to keep Nebraska safe.

      Jackson and Ricketts did not address the 6 State Patrol personnel put on administrative leave at the same time Colonel Rice was fired, explaining that those cases are still proceeding through the set process.

    The only one of the 6 officially identified is Assistant Superintendent Lt Colonel Thomas Schwarten, but the Omaha World Herald has identified two others as Patrol Services Major Mike Gaudreault, a former commander of the Panhandle's Troop E, and his successor as commander Captain Jamey Balthazor - with several troopers privately confirming their suspensions.


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