By Larry Nelson

Letter to the Editor: Reader wants city council to stand behind police chief


Dear Editor:

I want to speak of some items concerning Sidney Police Chief B.J. Wilkinson’s treatment and situation at the hands of the city manager and almost, by the members of the city council, which meets Tuesday evening.

The director of Public Works broke the law and was issued a citation to appear in court by the Police Department. By city policy, he (John Hehnke) had to report what happened to his boss, the City Manager (Gary Person). The two of them must have talked the situation over and came up with an action plan (what to do).

One or both (now meeting the definition of a conspiracy) would have had to talk with the Chief of Police to get this problem behind them. A meeting between the three took place.

As a result, the city manager “doesn’t recall the language used,” the director of Public Works “vehemently” denies what was said/happened and the Chief of Police took notes documenting the events and conversation,

The prevailing thought must have been that time would make this all go away. If no one really knew and events would overshadow the matter, it would be a non-starter. Obviously, the matter re-surfaced.

After bringing in a judge not-tied-to-the-community, a hearing was held.

Yes, the judge didn’t seem to want any disruptions in his court so he held the hearing early, and some citizens were not allowed to enter the courtroom. Rulings were handed down. The results were published, wheels turned.

One thing that happened is that the Chief of Police was put on admistrative leave.

Let’s see … the director of Public Works is guilty of disturbing the peace and fined, but still has his job? The city manager, who orchestrated all this, is home free and continues to be the main information channel of the city council members? Mr. Mayor/Councilmen, do you see anything wrong with this picture?

If I am wrong, tell me.

1.) The Chief of Police, responsible for managing a Department, and for Law Enforcement in Sidney, is put on Administrative leave. And remains in that status.

2.) Hehnke, the city’s Director of Public Works is convicted of disturbing the peace. He should have gone to jail, but he still has his job.

3.) Person, who clearly sympathized with Hehnke, is undisciplined in the whole matter?

Truly, each of the members of the city council relies on Person for information and perspective. Why hasn’t he been suspended or put on administrative leave?

Please do your own thinking and research. If Person is manipulating this situation, what else is he doing without your awareness? Yet, you trust him?

I would encourage the mayor of Sidney and the Sidney City Council members to support B.J. Wilkinson, the Chief of Police. Please get behind this good man and let him flourish in his career and service to the people of Sidney, rather than vote to suspend or end it.

– Larry Nelson

Sidney, Neb.


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