By Larry Nelson
For The Sun-Telegraph 

Letter To The Editor: Jail time for chief is way out of line


Dear Editor:

The headline in The Sidney Sun-Telegraph read “Chief gets jail time.” The Chief of Police.

Who would make such a complaint that would result in such a sentence? Was it the city of Sidney official who was out of control? I doubt it. Was it the city manager who wanted this energetic man to be gone in such a short time? I doubt this too.

When all this took place, Chief Wilkinson had been on the “job” for a little over six months when one of his officers responded to a call about suspicious activity. The officer did the best he could in investigating the matter and eventually cited the party he found responsible.

The citation was removed from the prosecutor’s files. So, a new chief of police had to have contacted the city manager seeking guidance about handling the matter to everyone’s satisfaction. The chief, isn’t saying much about that guidance and instead, admitted to removing the citation because he thought it was the best course of action to take for all concerned.

Here, the errant employee probably had met the chief of police once or twice. He didn’t know the chief well enough to expect the chief to take a hit for him.

In the court of law, the accused employee could have been directed to get counseling. He could have been offered probation. He could have received administrative restrictions from the city management system.

In April, 16 months after the alleged incident happened, the employee pleaded no contest and was fined $300.

There is a sinister aspect to this case. It is possible that there are members of the Sidney Police Department who would like to see Chief Wilkinson be the chief no longer.

As previously stated, Wilkinson is an energetic worker. Has he instituted new policies that have made some of the officers uncomfortable? He may have offended one or more because of something he did or didn’t do.

The investigating officer, Sgt. Tim Craig, is no longer on the force. Did he leave because the chief did an override on his citation? Is there a small group of police officers who want their leader gone? That doesn’t speak well of our local police officers.

B.J. Wilkinson is an exemplary policeman. He has a particular skill that not all members of the profession can claim. His works very well with people who are constantly troubled. His work is very unusual in his approach to such folks who just don’t seem to care most of the time. He won’t ask his personnel to do anything that he wouldn’t do himself.

He personally directed the follow-up and arrest of the individual who robbed a local savings and loan firm. He has responded to situations where the “troubled” can’t seem to find their way, and he helps them. He leads by example and by experience. This community is fortunate to have such a good man in its midst.

C’mon Sidney, are we going to let this happen? To our chief of police? There should be a line of good people waiting to pay the $500 appeal bond. Here, it’s the right thing to do.

– Larry Nelson

Sidney, NE


Reader Comments

stry7959 writes:

Who was irrational and went out on a limb....interesting where this landed. Good thing someone was interested in the truth.

citizen writes:

Very bold assessment for not having a fraction of the facts! I think you need to ask questions and get answers so you understand the totality of the circircustances. That way you are not suprised when that limb you've climbed out on breaks. With that said, there are ways to get all of the facts through a freedom of infomation request through the investigating agency. Anyone who cares about the integrity of Sidney should review all of the facts before jumping to such irrational conclusions.


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