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Nebraska State Patrol trooper looks to increase recruitment and diversity within department

Posted at 7:22 PM, Sep 21, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Trooper Keith Bell of the Nebraska State Patrol says he wants to see more people considering the patrol as a career, but realizes it's an uphill battle.

"Some of the social justice issues that we had in the past has kind of dampened the passion for law enforcement and we want to increase that," he said.

For Bell, recruitment is a job within a job, connecting with potential applicants, as well as increasing diversity within the patrol.

He says about 20 members of the NSP identify as a minority, of those, seven are African American.

His main goal, says Bell, is to recruit the first Black female to join the patrol; the representation, according to potential applicants, is badly needed.

"Being able to have someone represent women of color is very important because we just don't see it," Rakeesha Barber said.

Interacting with an officer who looked like her changed everything for Kristen Prater after she headed down the wrong path and had a run-in with law enforcement.

"I had an African American female who picked up my case and she really kinda helped me turn it around," she said.

Prater is now considering a career in criminal justice in hopes of mentoring others.

"It's deeper than being a probation officer and enforcing laws," she said.

Success stories like this one are just one of the reasons why Bell says more diversity is needed within the NSP.

"We want to tap into that resource and bring them to our agency," he said. "We also want our agency to reflect the communities that we serve."

Information on how to apply to the NSP can be found at the state patrol's website: statepatrol. nebraska.gov.

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