Bills would help fix problems of transparency and accountability in Nebraska State Patrol – Lincoln Journal Star

Bills would help fix problems of transparency and accountability in Nebraska State Patrol – Lincoln Journal Star

A review last year of the Nebraska State Patrol prompted Gov. Pete Ricketts to request the Legislature to correct a number of issues that cropped up during that assessment.

The resulting bill (LB792), introduced by Sen. Laura Ebke at Ricketts’ request, would expand the duties and authority of the Nebraska Crime Commission to track officers who leave a law enforcement agency under certain conditions.

It would also repeal a section of law that requires the state attorney general to defend troopers against criminal actions, thus removing a conflict of interest from that office.

The bill was opposed by the state troopers’ union and other police organizations.

Jason Jackson, Ricketts’ chief human resources officer, said the bill grew out of a review by his office of the State Patrol that led to the firing of Col. Brad Rice and subsequently the discipline, firing, resignation or retirement of other patrol administrators and troopers.

Jackson said when he did the review, he expected to find process defects and policy violations.

“What I did not expect to find was the degree to which Nebraska state law and the state’s labor contract … operate together to undermine transparency and accountability at the Nebraska State Patrol,” Jackson said.

One of the problems was that the patrol was unable to provide evidence of officer misconduct to the Crime Commission.

“A bad-actor cop who is dishonest or who preys upon our citizens should not be able to hop from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and continue to wear the uniform of a Nebraska law enforcement officer,” he said. Read the full article from the Lincoln Journal Star here.

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