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Minatare police chief resigns
April 23, 2015 Jerry Purvis   

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Robert Regester, Minatare’s police chief for the past 12 years, submitted his resignation to the city council during its Tuesday meeting.

In a letter dated April 16, Regester said his resignation would be effective April 30. Until then, he’s using up vacation time.
“In the 12 years I’ve worked for the city, I have made many friends and have seen good and bad times,” his letter stated. “I did my job to the best of my ability.”

Several members of the public attending the meeting said they were sorry to see him go because he had become such a part of the community. “His heart was in Minatare” was one of the comments.
Last February, Regester and two officers were suspended by the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center for failure to qualify for their sidearms and failure to comply with the requirement of 20 hours of continuing education annually, both required by state law.

Jim Lawson, one of the officers, has since completed the paperwork necessary to be reinstated. However, Regester and Officer Michael Youngquist remain on suspension.

City Attorney Audrey Elliott said she’s been in contact with the center but had received only silence as to why the chief and officer haven’t been reinstated.

“Up until about two weeks ago, I had regular contact with the center’s director as to what was going on,” Elliott said. “That’s about all I can say at this point. They’ve given me no reason as to what the delay is. There has to be something more, but it hasn’t been shared with me.”

Mayor Jerry Harms said he was inclined to not accept Regester’s resignation, but it was up to the council, since only that board can vote.
Another idea that was floated was for Minatare to consider contracting with Scotts Bluff County to provide law enforcement coverage, similar to what Bridgeport is considering with Morrill County.

In the meantime, Scotts Bluff County and the Nebraska State Patrol have been assisting Minatare until the problem can be resolved.
“We very regretfully accept the resignation of Chief Regester,” Mayor Harms said after an executive session to discuss the police situation. “We’ll be advertising for one new full-time officer and three part-time officers. We’ll decide on a chief after we interview some people.”
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