Amicus lector
Plea deal spares Flandreau a potentially embarrassing trial

Former Flandreau police officer Stephan Nelson pleaded guilty to grand theft last week.

That means there won’t be a trial, at which we’d learn more about the messy operations of the Flandreau Police Department in the months leading up to the Division of Criminal Investigation’s discovery that Nelson had lifted more than $1,400 from the evidence room.

There’s a lot that hasn’t come out. 

In stories for our rural law enforcement series last year and in today’s brief about Nelson’s plea, I’ve referred to a preliminary hearing at which the former officer’s defense lawyer eluded to a loose culture at the FPD.

Chief Michael Eisenbarth and officer Jesse Doyle left along with Nelson. The department spent a good part of last year piecing the department back together.

My guess is that Flandreau’s leaders aren’t bothered by the fact that there won’t be a public trial detailing the specifics of a case they’ve worked so hard to move on from.

In the interest of filling in some gaps for readers whose interest was piqued by the rural law enforcement series (or perhaps by today’s brief), here’s a transcript of the preliminary hearing I’ve referred to so often.

Enjoy.

Steve Nelson Preliminary Hearing

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