The day before his retirement takes effect, an attorney for embattled Bellevue Police Chief John Stacey talked about the circumstances leading up to his decision to leave office.
Stacey is facing allegations in two separate situations. His attorney said Stacey opted to retire rather than drag himself, his family and the city through what was to come, saying Thursday that Stacey was in a situation he could not win so retirement was the best option.
“Was this an opportunity for the city to look into matters about a gun?” asked Stacey’s attorney Edward F. Pohren. “Perhaps. Was this an opportunity to look into matters involving a relationship with Colleen and Stacey? Perhaps. But it was actually something the city could do and put him on indefinite leave."
Stacey's legal issues still linger. He is scheduled to be in court next week to answer to charges about loaning a gun to former Gretna city administrator Colleen Lawry.
Bellevue City Administrator Dan Berlowitz released a statement Wednesday accepting John Stacey’s resignation as police chief and volunteer firefighter, effective Friday after a career that spanned 34 years.
“I made the decision to resign based on what I believe is in the best interest of my family, the men and women of the police department and the city of Bellevue,” said Stacey.
“John Stacey has been a fixture in the city of Bellevue, having served both as police chief and fire chief,” said Berlowitz. “On behalf of the city, I wish him well."
The city will honor its obligation under Nebraska law to buy back 100 percent of Stacey’s unused vacation leave and provide him with mandatory police pension benefits.
Stacey will be limited to selling back 50 percent of any unused sick leave up to 960 hours. In this regard, the city will provide Stacey with the same benefits it provides to all employees who separate from the city, regardless of whether they resign or are discharged from employment.
Stacey had been on paid administrative leave since May 2nd, accused of making an inappropriate comment to a group touring a fire station that included a young girl.
The gun citation involving Stacey loaning one of his handguns to Lawry is separate from the Bellevue investigation. Stacey said loaning a gun to a friend is not a crime. The Sarpy County Attorney's Office disagreed, which is why Stacey was cited for violation of a gun certificate.