Kendel Blake Swicord, a former officer with the Seward County Sheriff's office who resigned in January, lost his appeal in Hall County District Court on May 13 in order to gain certification from the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center.
The decision came nearly a full calendar year after his application was denied for Reciprocity Certification (May 20, 2019). Swicord has already appealed to the court of appeals.
The court upheld a Police Standards Advisory Council decision based upon failure to disclose a prior arrest or investigation of his law enforcement certification in his personal character affidavit. The court also said that Swicord “made deliberate omissions concerning an ongoing investigation of his law enforcement certification,” adding that PSAC is “supported by evidence and did not deny due process.”
Seward County Sheriff Mike Vance, who hired Swicord in January 2019, stated his support for Swicord when reached for comment on June 12.
“I feel confident that he'll win in the end and I've seen the evidence,” Vance said. “With this appeal there's evidence brought in after that initial hearing. There'll be more brought to light.”
Originally hired by Seward County Sheriff's Office on Jan. 3, 2019, Swicord served until his resignation on Jan. 2, 2020. He had one year from his hire date to become a certified law enforcement officer in Nebraska after moving from Georgia.
Swicord applied to the NLETC, which is located in Hall County, in order to gain certification in Nebraska. He was denied. His file was presented to the court during his latest appeal which showed his “numerous commendations and awards for outstanding performance while employed with the (Georgia State Patrol),” and “his excellence in criminal drug interdiction, the focus of much of his experience and training,” according to court documents.
The court also presented information stating that Swicord was placed on paid administrative leave by Georgia State Patrol on March 2, 2017, which was then extended on Nov. 20, before his employment there was terminated on Dec. 7, 2017, for “misconduct, conduct reflecting discredit on the department or insubordination,” according to court documents.
In court documents Swicord stated his firing was for “political reasons,” adding that the GSP colonel at that time had “disdain” for him and withheld promotions. Swicord also said he was a key figure in complaints concerning inappropriate handling of overtime pay and failure to properly compensate canine handlers. The court admitted additional evidence, however, that Swicord was under investigation for months while in Georgia on claims of an improper gun sale and allegedly engaging in sexually explicit texts and photos on his work phone.
Swicord also acknowledged that he was arrested in January 2018 for alleged battery of his wife. He explained he didn't commit the assault, nor was he charged, and the matter was dismissed approximately 11 days later.
Swicord told the court he wanted to move to Nebraska to “get a fresh start,” and wanted to work near a major drug corridor like Interstate 80. Vance hired Swicord, who Vance said was “very candid about the whole situation” concerning the Georgia background information.
Vance submitted an application on Swicord's behalf for Reciprocity Certification in lieu of attending Basic Officer Certification. As part of that process, Swicord was required to submit a Personal Character Affidavit for Law Enforcement Certification. That form included three questions: “have you ever, either as an adult or juvenile, been cited, arrested, charged or convicted for a violation of any law (except moving traffic violations to be reported under the next question, and except for minor parking violations)?”; “Have you ever had a professional license that you hold be under investigation?”; “Is a professional license that you hold currently under investigation?”
Swicord answered “no” to each of those questions.
His appellate court date is unknown at this time, although lawyer Greg Damman stated the process typically takes nine months to a year to complete.