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Wahoo police chief resigns, cites 'nothing nefarious' in decision
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Wahoo police chief resigns, cites 'nothing nefarious' in decision

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The head of the Wahoo Police Department abruptly resigned from his position on Nov. 11, submitting his resignation the same day it became effective, the city announced in a news release.

Reached by phone, Bruce Ferrell of Elkhorn offered little comment on his departure from Wahoo's police force  which has become the subject of scrutiny after Lt. Sean Vilmont was charged in September with three counts of third-degree sexual assault of a child.

"Nothing nefarious," Ferrell told the Journal Star on Wednesday, after the Wahoo Newspaper first reported his departure, which comes less than two months after Vilmont's. 

"Nothing big," Ferrell said. "No smoke, no mirrors  nothing at all. (It was) just time." 

Officer Alan O’Sullivan is serving as an interim replacement while Wahoo searches for a new police chief, according to the city's news release. City Administrator Melissa Harrell was not immediately available for comment. 

Ferrell had served as the police chief since he was appointed in February 2018. Previously, he worked in law enforcement for nearly three decades in Omaha, Bellevue and Valley.

A longtime gang investigator in Omaha, Ferrell was once the president of both the national and Midwest Gang Investigators Association. He had also been a vice president of the Nebraska Association of Chiefs of Police. 

Gov. Pete Ricketts appointed Ferrell last year to serve a three-year term on the state's Jail Standards Board, though he's no longer listed as a board member on the Crime Commission's website.

He also operated Ferrell Consulting Group, founded in 2010, though the business' website appears to have been shut down.  

In 2019, Ferrell had promoted Vilmont to the rank of lieutenant, making him second-in-command in the town's police force, the Wahoo Newspaper reported then. 

Vilmont, 51, was twice investigated by Fremont police, in 2015 and 2017, after the same girl alleged he sexually abused her, but he wasn't arrested until the girl made a third complaint in January.

Vilmont was put on paid administrative leave as the Nebraska State Patrol investigated the allegation, Ferrell said in a September news release. Vilmont was terminated Sept. 22, the day charges were filed in Dodge County, the Omaha World-Herald reported. 

In October, Ferrell declined to say whether he was aware of the previous investigations into Vilmont. 

Reach the writer at 402-473-7223 or awegley@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @andrewwegley

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