|Regester accepts plea deal|
|August 06, 2015 Jerry Purvis|
As the Minatare Police Department builds toward full strength, its former chief accepted a plea agreement to surrender his law enforcement certification.
Robert Regester, who had been Minatare’s Police Chief for the past 12 years, had been suspended in February by the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center. The agency said they did not received updated documentation from Regester for completing his firearms certification training, and 20 hours of required continuing education.
Two other officers, Jim Lawson and Michael Youngquist, were also suspended, but later reinstated.
Register resigned his position in a letter to the city council dated April 16. Several members of the public attending April’s council meeting said they were sorry to see Regester go because he had endeared himself with some in the community. “His heart was in Minatare” was one of the comments. His supporters at the meeting asked if there was a way for him to remain as chief. But after an executive session, council members accepted Regester’s resignation with regret.
Soon afterward, Regester was charged in Scotts Bluff County Court with alleged doctoring of official documents to show both he and Youngquist had completed the required recertification. The charge said the falsified documents were submitted to NLETC on official Minatare letterhead. After review, NLETC asked the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office to file charges.
During his pre-trial hearing, Regester pleaded not guilty to four charges of Abuse of Public Records, and one charge of Making a False Statement Under Oath.
After a postponement, so Regester could arrange for counsel, a hearing date was set for July 29. Before that could happen, Regester accepted a plea agreement, and entered pleas of no contest to the charges.
Under the terms of the agreement, he will voluntarily surrender his law enforcement certification in Nebraska, and will pay a $1,000 fine for each of four counts of the indictment. A fifth charge of making a false statement under oath was dismissed as part of the deal.
Minatare Mayor Jerry Harms said he was shocked when he learned about the case. “Robert has been one of the best police chiefs we’ve had in many years,” Harms said. “His family and mine have been friends for all the time he was here, and will continue to be. I wish him well in whatever plans he has for the future.”