Conviction of police chief upheld by judge

SIDNEY, Neb. (AP) — A judge has affirmed the conviction and sentencing of a  Nebraska police chief who said he didn’t pursue a criminal case against a city official because not doing so was “in the best interests” of the city.

Judge Travis O’Gorman of Cheyenne County District Court recently rejected an appeal by Sidney Police Chief B.J. Wilkinson, according to online court records. In his ruling,
O’Gorman said Wilkinson abused his power by failing to uphold and enforce the law and instead attempted to help a co-worker.

It was not immediately clear whether Wilkinson would appeal further or begin serving his 30-day sentence.

State prosecutors said Wilkinson failed to pursue criminal charges against John Hehnke, who then was Sidney’s public works director, after Hehnke’s ex-girlfriend filed a complaint against him in January 2014.

She told officers that she believed he had peered into her home and had seen her partially clothed.

Hehnke was cited by an officer, but Wilkinson acknowledged to a Nebraska State Patrol investigator later that he’d removed the citation from others being referred to the county attorney’s office for prosecution.

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