New Dexter chief will be named this week

Tuesday, October 2, 2001

DEXTER, Mo. -- Dexter Police Chief Ken Rinehart's last day was Monday, after he resigned last week.

Dexter Mayor John Pruitt said an interim chief would be named this week.

The chief's resignation followed several days of speculation concerning his future with the department.

In his resignation letter, Rinehart said he was "very proud of my achievements and accomplishments as a member of the Dexter Police Department."

Pruitt expressed regret over the events that led to Rinehart's leaving.

Rinehart seemed to be at the center of a whirlwind centered on the arrest and sentencing last summer of former Dexter police officer Robert Kennedy. Kennedy, 31, resigned from the department in late July after being charged with two counts of statutory rape, rape and other charges of improper sexual behavior.

At the time of Kennedy's sentencing on Sept. 12, Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney Briney Welborn said Kennedy had agreed to "cooperate" with county authorities in any further investigation of the Dexter Police Department.

Kennedy pleaded guilty to two counts of statutory rape and one count of deviant sexual intercourse. He was sentenced to five years of supervised probation as well as having to attend a sex offenders program and register as a sex offender.

Department investigated

However, Pruitt said Friday night three separate investigations into the operation of the Dexter Police Department have been conducted in recent months by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Two of the investigations were in connection with the Kennedy case. A third investigation was done at the request of Welborn.

The investigation reports cleared the department and Rinehart of wrongdoing.

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