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1997 Grad Completes First Year as U.S. Marshal

The U.S. Marshals are the stuff of legend with actors like John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and Timothy Olyphant immortalizing the office on the silver screen. Now, Bellevue University graduate Scott Kracl is taking on that real-life role.

Before he joined such illustrious company, Kracl worked in law enforcement and then earned his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Bellevue University in 1997. He was named the U.S. Marshal for the District of Nebraska on June 11, 2018. As a U.S. Marshal, Kracl became part of the oldest American federal law enforcement agency – one that was created by the Judiciary Act of 1789 during the presidency of George Washington. Including Kracl, there are 94 U.S. Marshals, located in the continental United States, as well as Guam & Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Bellevue University caught up with Marshal Kracl recently to learn about his noteworthy role and how his education has impacted his career.

What are your main responsibilities as the U.S. Marshal for Nebraska? What do you enjoy most about your job?

My main responsibility is the leadership and direction of the United States Marshals Service operations in the District of Nebraska. These include protecting the United States Courts and federal judges, enforcement of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, dangerous fugitive apprehension, execution of federal court orders, and other appropriate federal law enforcement activities.

I’ve enjoyed working with and getting to know the staff of the Marshals Service in Nebraska. They are extremely professional and hard working. What I appreciate most about the deputies of the Marshals Service is their commitment to their mission without needing that constant outside affirmation. What I mean by that is most people don’t really know what we do, but each and every day the deputies are working to apprehend some of the most violent fugitives and sex offenders without publicly being acknowledged. I also really enjoy meeting some of the finest people during my travels, not only nationwide, but in Nebraska as well. It gives me renewed faith in our criminal justice system and makes me proud to be a part of Nebraska law enforcement.

How did you come to be nominated for the position and what was that process like?

I’ve had many opportunities to work with and meet highly respected professionals during my career with the Nebraska State Patrol. That included federal law enforcement executives, state and local police officers, both in Nebraska and nationwide. I also had the opportunity to participate in national working groups which exposed me to a wide variety of national concerns. It took approximately 11 months to get through the nomination process. That included completing questionnaires, background investigations and interviews with our local U.S. senators, the Marshals Service, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Senate. It was a long and stressful time but I’m so glad I stuck with it. I feel very blessed to be given this opportunity. 

Where are you from originally and where did you go to high school?

I grew up in Sarpy County (Nebraska) and went to Bryan High School until I was a sophomore. Then we moved to Schuyler, Nebraska, where I graduated from Schuyler High.

What first prompted your interest in law enforcement?

I worked at the courthouse in Colfax County (Nebraska) in high school and was able to meet several Schuyler police officers, sheriff’s deputies and Nebraska State Troopers. They were always so professional and genuinely cared about their work and community. After researching how many different disciplines a person could specialize in at the state patrol, I spoke to a couple local troopers and was sold on the idea.

 How has law enforcement changed from when you first started?

The technology we use has changed dramatically. I recall having to write very detailed reports on typewriters and in many cases going through several bottles of White-Out to correct mistakes. Now everything is done on computers and it gives you the correct spelling and offers grammatical changes. There are obviously a lot more examples of technological advances but that simple thing sticks out for me. However, the advances in forensic sciences is probably the most fascinating and has given law enforcement such an advantage of identifying violent offenders.

How did you first learn about Bellevue University and what led you to choose the school to complete your bachelor’s degree?

A very good friend of mine, Scott Christensen, attended Bellevue University and spoke very highly of the professors and educational benefits. I spoke to several administrators and after learning more, I felt it would be a good fit for me. Bellevue (University) offered a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration program that was cost effective and had a west Omaha location. It worked out very well. I’ve recommended Bellevue University to several people, and to a person they have all had great experiences. That’s always nice to hear.

What did you enjoy most about your Bellevue University experience?

 I was in the accelerated program so many of my classmates were working adults with diverse life experiences. That created very stimulating and insightful exchanges of views of the world and provided great class discussions.

Was there anyone who had a significant impact on your education?

There were actually two people. First was my professor, Sheriff Tim Dunning. He was fantastic. He was extremely knowledgeable and had real life experiences in the criminal justice field. Even if a student didn’t necessarily agree with his view, he gave reasoned answers and listened to their point of view. There was also a student that was extremely interesting, intelligent and had a lot of experience with policing. Tim Carmody was an Omaha Police Officer who is now the Police Chief of Council Bluffs (Iowa) Police Department. I knew when I met him, he would be very successful.

Who have been the biggest supporters of your career endeavors?

My family, no question about it. My wife had to endure many years of me working nights and raising our kids alone. She was also a good sport. For example, when I was working undercover in the drug division, we had to attend a Christmas party for her employer. She was an up-and-coming executive at a very conservative insurance company. I was working street-level narcotics so I had long hair and a bushy beard. I looked horrible but for obvious reasons she couldn’t tell anyone about my employment. We can laugh about it now, but at the time it was very awkward. My kids have also been very important in my career. They have been so supportive. Despite some of my parenting, they turned out to be great kids. I’m very proud of them.