Anger, Discord Evident on Recordings of Dawes County Sheriff Refusing to Jail Prisoner
By Bill Kelly , Senior Producer/Reporter Nebraska Public Media
May 11, 2021, 9:46 a.m. ·
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After delivering a firm rebuke of a Nebraska law enforcement officer, a judge is scheduled on May 12 to reveal the punishment for the Dawes County Sheriff after being convicted of official misconduct. Nebraska law identifies the offense as a Class II Misdemeanor.
Sheriff Karl Dailey (Photo: Chadron State College)
Segment of judge's finding that Dailey was guilty of official misconduct.
Chadron Police Chief Tim Lordino (File Photo)
In January, the evidence presented during a bench trial revealed Dawes County Sheriff Karl Dailey refused to jail a prisoner under arrest for a violent attack and sexual assault. Dailey maintained he did not receive the prisoner because of concerns over the man's medical condition and concerns over jail security.
Recordings presented as evidence during the trial convinced Judge Randin Rollin Dailey's angry response grew from ongoing feuds over turf and perceived slights with the Chadron Police Department and the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP).
At one point, in a recording made by a state patrol investigator, the veteran law enforcement officer stated, "I don't get b****-slapped by anybody. I'm Sheriff Karl Dailey."
NET News obtained recordings presented as evidence during the January trial. Video from cameras activated by fellow police officers captures a series of explosive encounters the sheriff had with other law enforcement officers as the assault investigation was underway in July 2019.
Additional audio recordings document private interviews with Dailey recorded by the Nebraska State Patrol.
The recordings had never been heard in public outside the courtroom.
In the Dailey misconduct case, the flashpoint occurred the night a Chadron police officer arrested a fugitive named Jessie Sierra.
Sierra had been the subject of an all-points look-out issued by law enforcement in South Dakota. He allegedly kidnapped his former girlfriend. She arrived at Chadron Community Hospital badly beaten. There was evidence of a sexual assault. She told police she feared for her life if she left the hospital.
Chadron Police Chief Tim Lordino requested help from the Nebraska State Patrol. Lordino also advised the emergency dispatcher to contact Dailey.
At one point before Sierra's capture, police were aware of seven different locations in at least three counties and two states that might have required some attention from law enforcement.
Testifying during Dailey's trial, Lordino called it "a very complicated case."
Under questioning, Lordino said it was unclear which agency had taken the lead at the time. He did not "necessarily know that if it is my position to dictate to either the state patrol or the sheriff's office who is going to run a particular investigation and in the county."
Chadron PD officers responded to the disturbance call within the city limits. On arrival, Officer Shawn Considine found Sierra running, apparently from a group of relatives seeking revenge for the alleged assault against the hospitalized woman.
Once in custody, Sierra, limping and breathless, told the officer he fled as a group tried to run him over with their car shortly before the first police cruiser arrived.
Sheriff Dailey would clarify he felt the police chief and local commanders with the Nebraska State Patrol should have contacted him directly. A Dawes County deputy provided information about the unfolding case may not have immediately notified Dailey.
Angered by the perceived slight, Dailey talked by phone to the area commander for the state patrol and, in the sheriff's words, "called him everything but a white man" while expressing his displeasure.
Unsatisfied with the response from the NSP captain, Dailey showed up at a motel in Crawford where officers had obtained a search warrant relating to the Sierra case.
As other law enforcement officers look on, Dailey approached the car of a state patrol lieutenant equipped with a video camera and stated, "This is not the Chadron PD's f-----g case. It happened here. It's our case."
The NSP investigator told the sheriff there is no requirement their agency notify local law enforcement of its investigations. Dailey's voice became sharper.
"God Damn, you know I constantly get phone calls about helping you sons of b-----s out. And we do. We bend over f-----g backward to do anything we can to help you out. And this is the way you're going to treat us? Well, this is the line in the sand."
Dailey declared the Dawes County jail, which he manages, will, "if he can arrange it," no longer accept prisoners arrested by the state patrol.
"So now you know what to expect from me. You can all p--s up a rope, and if I can arrange it, you won't be booking prisoners in my jail anymore either. You can take them all the way to f-----g Scotts Bluff (County Corrections) from now on."
Dailey ended by saying, "Have a nice day, guys," and driving away from the officers.
Dailey was not done stating his case. The sheriff next drove to the location where Chadron police officer Considine waited for a rescue squad to examine Sierra for possible injuries.
Dailey drove up and confronted Considine. When the officer attempted to brief the sheriff, he's interrupted.
(Considine) We get called that…
(Dailey) I'm telling you right now
(Considine) Yes, sir.
(Dailey) And you can call your f-----g boss (Lordino) if you want to. You can tell him Karl told him he can shove it up his (expletive), but we're not accepting him. We're sending him to Scotts Bluff because of his injuries.
(Dailey) Sound good? Okay. Have a nice night. Let's go.
Daily returned a short time later to tell Considine, "it ain't you," claiming the problem started with the officer's boss because "Lordino intentionally bypassed" the Dawes County Sheriff Office.
The sheriff said his problem with the Chadron police chief started "the first day he started working."
Eventually, the doctor at the Chadron hospital found Sierra's injuries were not severe and released him to the police, indicating there were no medical reasons not to house the prisoner locally.
With the Dawes County jail off-limits, the state patrol picked up Sierra and made the two-hour drive to the Scotts Bluff Detention Center, where he was locked up.
According to Nebraska's attorney general, the actions taken by Sheriff Dailey amounted to official misconduct.
At the trial in January, Corey O'Brien, representing the attorney general, said state law "specifically requires Karl Dailey, as the jailer of Dawes County Nebraska, receive all lawfully committed offenders into the Dawes County jail and to keep them there until they are lawfully discharged."
Evidence presented at trial included the recordings done the night of Sierra's arrest as four hours of recorded conversations Dailey had at the request of a state patrol investigator.
The prosecutor told County Court Judge Randin Roland, "the truth is in the four hours of interviews… in which he said the real motive was he was angry that his agency was not included in this investigation and that he was personally not called."
The sheriff's defense attorney, Charles Brewster, argued Dailey had valid reasons to decline the prisoner.
"At that time, the Dawes County jail didn't have the facility or the staff to handle somebody like this who would have been a real security risk to those people, "Brewster claimed.
Judge Roland refused to dismiss the case and, based on the statements in the recordings, he found Dailey guilty of official misconduct, a class two misdemeanor in Nebraska.
While ruling on the motion to dismiss, the judge said, "it's very obvious in simple terms, the sheriff was pissed off. And as the sheriff said, this was his way of saying f--- you."
Judge Roland added even if the sheriff had good cause to refuse the prisoner, his department had the responsibility to find an alternative lock-up.
"It's not up to the trooper or the police officer or anyone else, but that sheriff and his deputy to transport that prisoner to another facility where they will be held," the judge stated. "That did not happen in this case."
The recordings verified something else that many in Dawes County had suspected for some time. There is serious bad blood between the two primary law enforcement agencies in the county. On the witness stand, Chadron Police Chief Lordino was asked how long there's been animosity. He replied, "at least 30 years."
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