Scott Kracl – U.S. Marshal for Nebraska, Hometown Boy 12/13/18 12/13/18 10:06:30 AM
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U.S. Marshal Scott Kracl poses for a photograph in front of the Marshal’s seal in his office. Kracl took over the position earlier this year. (Photo by Antone Oseka)
Scott Kracl – U.S. Marshal for Nebraska, Hometown Boy
By Andy Roberts
The Daily Record
Scott Kracl wasn’t on the new job long before he was reminded why he opted for a career in law enforcement.
Walking into the federal courthouse in Lincoln, the new U.S. Marshal was welcomed by a familiar face who told him to have a good day.
It was “Mr. Hanson,” a Nebraska State Trooper who often came to the courthouse in Schuyler for court. The older man gave the young Kracl advice about making good decisions and staying out of trouble if he wanted to be a state trooper, advice he valued and took to heart.
It also connected him to the strong Nebraska roots the Omaha native counts on in his new assignment.
Kracl grew up in the metro area near 40th and Chandler, where he attended Gilder School and Omaha Bryan High. In 1981, his family moved to Schuyler as Kracl’s father took over the family farm.
“A little bit of culture shock,” he said. At the time of the move he wondered, “Why?” but that’s where he met Susan, his wife of 31 years. The couple have two adult children in their late 20s and an eight-month-old granddaughter.
“I just love it,” he said of being a grandfather.
The new job as U.S. Marshal also meets with his favor. Founded by George Washington, the Marshal’s service is celebrating 228 years of operation. The main job is to make sure the federal judiciary and all who participate in the justice system can work in safety. In a word, or two, providing security.
“The people here at the court and in Lincoln are very appreciative always,” Kracl said. “You can’t let your guard down.”
The U.S. Marshal’s job is the high point, to date, of a distinguished law enforcement career. It was during his high school days in Schuyler when Kracl worked at the courthouse that he began to develop an interest in law enforcement.
He was further influenced by his dad’s cousin who worked as a state trooper based in David City. Kracl soon got to know more law enforcement personnel and their work. Before long he was thinking: “That’s something I want to look into ... it kind of took off from there.”
It probably helped that he worked at a Schuyler packing house, an experience that quickly convinced him of the need to go to college.
“Once you’ve worked at a packing house you know you need to study,” he said.
He attended college at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, where he recalls enjoying his time. Still thinking about a future in law enforcement, Kracl decided to go through the application process to join the state patrol. He figured he’d need to go through it a couple times before being accepted but made the cut the first time and entered
the academy – which then was in Lincoln.
“I was on the 10-year plan for my bachelor’s,” after that, he said. The degree in Criminal Justice came later from Bellevue University.
In December of 1987 he started work as a state trooper based in Blair.
“It was an excellent community to work in,” he said. “The law enforcement colleagues I had were down to earth.”
After two years in Washington County, he transferred to Omaha and stayed with Troop A for most of his 29 and a half years in the patrol.
Some of that time was spent in traffic services as a road trooper but more often he worked as an investigator.
Investigations proved to be a compelling chapter in his career. Only four years into the job, Kracl moved into street-level enforcement, even working undercover for a while.
He recalls the time as a difficult one in many ways, especially when he had to grow long hair and a beard. The young trooper dressed down and essentially had to be in character, so he could get to know drug dealers and gang members.
It was difficult for Susan, an insurance executive, when they were together at work-related social gatherings and his appearance couldn’t be explained.
“It’s kind of hard to turn off when you go home,” he said of the undercover work. Kracl later made it into upper level enforcement and wire taps. “I enjoyed it a lot more.”
In 1999, with Sgt. Scott Christensen of the NSP, he co-founded the Crimes Against Children Task Force. Kracl admits to being shocked by the nature of many chat room conversations where he had to participate by role playing and monitoring. In addition to that work, the unit went to schools to educate students on how to stay safe online.
The courts were still learning how to deal with crime in this new venue and Kracl’s group led the way in determining how to develop digital evidence. “It was an exciting time,” he said. “We learned a lot.”
Kracl concluded his time with the state patrol as Lieutenant of Executive Protection and Capitol Security form 2016 until he retired in 2017 – a role in which he provided protection to the governor.
In May, following the recommendations of Nebraska’s U.S. Senators, he moved into the Marshal’s position. Kracl is enthusiastic about the new role, which, while security is a key part of the mission, really does much more.
For example, the U.S. Marshal’s office sponsors the Metro Fugitive Task Force, which it took over from the FBI about 15 years ago.
“They’ve done some tremendous work,” Kracl stated. “They go out for the worst.”
Some dangerous folks have been taken off the streets, he pointed out, thanks to the office’s work under gang enforcement. Sex offender compliance under the Adam Walsh Act is another major responsibility.
A daily highlight for Kracl is the people with whom he works.
“They’re so well trained it seems to go pretty well,” he said. “My hope is just to build on that.”
He credits his predecessor, Mark Martinez, with leaving the department in “very good shape.”
One of the best aspects of the job, he said, is the lack of politics despite it being an appointed post.
“What’s really nice about this position, even though it’s a political position, (is) there’s no politics in the position,” he said.
The staff just makes sure people in the courts can do their job properly and safely.
Kracl admits to being blessed in his career and is thankful for the many opportunities that have come his way. It’s going well, and he hopes for another four-year appointment.
He is willing to see what, if anything, the future holds.
“I can’t imagine topping this,” Kracl said. “I’m enjoying every minute of it.”