Attorney who vetted State Patrol candidates praises new commander

(NTV News)

An outsider joins the rank of the Nebraska State Patrol, at a time the agency faces questions.

Colonel Brad Rice faced several scandals during his tenure. He served from 2015 to 2017, when he was relieved of his duties.

A report finds at least four times rice interfered with internal investigations.

Issues such as those could cause some to question the basic integrity of the statewide law enforcement agency.

Some were surprised to see a public defender on the search committee, but a Grand Island defense attorney explains he too wanted to ensure the agency is run fairly.

Gerry Piccolo said, “The integrity is just as important to the defense as it is to the prosecution. A lot of people don't understand that. But it is important to us on the defense as well as prosecutors that the system be honest.”

Piccolo served alongside the Omaha police chief, a retired FBI agent, and former U.S. Attorney on the search committee that selected John Bolduc.

Piccolo praised the governor’s choice.

“He comes off very, very well. He came off very, very well on his resume and in his interviews. I think the governor and committee made the right decision,” Piccolo said.

Piccolo agreed the agency may benefit from an outsider, with a history of changing the culture. Bolduc said in a news conference that he has experience coming into law enforcement departments from the outside.

The last several Nebraska State Patrol superintendents have been named from within the ranks of the patrol.

Bolduc says the men and women of the state patrol deserve quality leadership. He will join the agency in October at a salary of $150,000. Rice was paid $90,000.

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