Dexter citizens speak out on police woes

Thursday, January 24, 2002

DEXTER, Mo. -- It was probably foremost on the majority of people's minds at this week's meeting of the Dexter Board of Aldermen, but it was the last item on the session's agenda.

Nearly 40 citizens packed city chambers on Tuesday, many coming to quiz the board on the issues facing the Dexter Police Department.

On Friday, a Stoddard County grand jury passed down indictments charging Police Chief Ken Rinehart and police Sgt. Sammy Stone had hindered the prosecution of the case against former officer Robert Kennedy. Kennedy was arrested last summer on charges of improper sexual conduct.

While aldermen did not officially have the matter on the agenda, the issue was raised during the citizens' input portion of night.

"I'd like to know what it is going to cost the taxpayers with all these lawsuits," asked Roger Hubbard, referring to the civil and criminal cases associated with the Kennedy matter.

"I can tell you that insurance is already covering those that are in the federal court -- the only two that have been filed," Mayor John Pruitt said in response. Pruitt was referencing two civil lawsuits filed by Dexter attorney Steve Holden on behalf of two victims in the Kennedy case. The lawsuits are against Kennedy, Rinehart and Stone. City insurance will cover the two current officers.

Pruitt added that the board is considering the insurance and other ramifications of the matter.

"I am here to ask all of you guys to resign," Hubbard said, pointing to the mayor and the aldermen. "You have failed the people."

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