Governor Pete Rickets and the state’s Chief HR Officer announced the findings in a 15-page scathing review of leadership of the Nebraska State Patrol. The report was released to the public on Thursday.
The Nebraska Chief Human Resources Officer Jason Jackson says two of the most significant catalysts in the review were reporting of inconsistencies rising out of the investigation of two 2016 incidents, and allegations of misconduct and harassment that were insufficiently documented and investigated by NSP leadership.
"We're going to hold people accountable for results. If they fail to live up to those expectations, we're going to take appropriate actions," said Ricketts.
Jackson also cited other incidents including a state trooper having been arrested for having stolen NSP ammunition, and the failure of state patrol administration to timely distribute tactical vests to troopers.
Jackson says Col. Brad Rice had inappropriate command influence over the internal affairs investigation on four occasions. Col. Rice’s response to workplace harassment was far below the state’s satisfaction.
"There was conduct that gave rise to a reasonable suspicion of dishonesty and dereliction of duty," says Jackson.
"Col. Rice failed to live up to my expectations with how he was supposed to lead that organization and that's why I asked him to leave the force," added Ricketts.
On June 30, 2017, Gov. Ricketts fired Colonel Brad Rice because of the findings of a review.
The review found that under Rice's leadership, troopers were prohibited from reporting issues to Human Resources without first seeking to resolve the issue within their command.
The review found that there was interference in that process at the highest level of the agency’s leadership, including mishandling of workplace harassment. NSP staff failed to report trooper misconduct at least a dozen times to the state crime commission, with cases dating back to 2008.
The report also showed that from July 2015 to December 2016, NSP spent more than $3 million in overtime.
"We know that all of our agencies have areas to improve. These are obviously a lot more critical and important ones because they deal with public safety and so we're going to continue to focus on them especially as we get the new superintendent in place," said Ricketts.
The FBI is investigating any criminal actions within the Nebraska State Patrol because of this internal investigation.