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Two Panhandle officers slated for surrender of law enforcement certification
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Two Panhandle officers slated for surrender of law enforcement certification

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Two Panhandle law enforcement officers have submitted to voluntarily surrender their law enforcement credentials after arrests and convictions in connection with domestic violence cases.

A former Scottsbluff Police corporal arrested on domestic violence charges pleaded to a lower count of disturbing the peace in December.

Scotts Bluff County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Matthew Herbel, 40, of Scottsbluff, on Sept. 28, 2021, after being called to his home. The Scotts Bluff County Attorney’s Office initially charged Herbel with third-degree domestic assault, a Class I misdemeanor.

Prosecutors filed an amended charge of disturbing the peace, a Class I misdemeanor, against Herbel on Dec. 3 and he pleaded no contest to the charge during a hearing three days later. Twelfth Judicial District Court judge Russell Harford, a judge based in Chadron who presided over the case, sentenced him to one day in jail, giving him credit for one day already served after his arrest, and fined him $250.

Charges stem from Herbel’s arrest after law enforcement officers responded to a report of an assault at the home he shared with his wife. A Scotts Bluff County Sheriff’s deputy said in arrest affidavits that an investigation showed Herbel and his wife had been in an altercation. Herbel told police he was attempting to leave the residence with his child. Initially he denied anything “physical” had happened, but then allegedly told a deputy that he had used a police control technique, called an arm bar. The technique involves holding a subject’s arm bent backward behind their back.

When officers questioned Herbel’s wife, she said she came home to Herbel packing her things, telling her she needed to leave the residence and could not take her son with her. The woman told police she had been assaulted as she tried to get her son and that she fell during the assault onto a bed and on top of her son. Deputies described observing red marks on the woman’s wrist and the back of her arm, consistent with the use of the arm bar technique. One deputy said marks on the woman’s right arm were starting to bruise, and she also had marks on her left arm as well.

Herbel stepped down from his position with the Scottsbluff Police Department after his arrest. He had been a member of the department for about 20 years, serving as a corporal for four years.

Garden County Sheriff Michelle Quinn had been arrested and convicted of charges in connection with a Tuesday, April 13, 2021, arrest.

According to information released from Nebraska State Patrol spokesperson Cody Thomas at the time, troopers were requested by Garden County Sheriff’s deputies to assist with response to a reported assault on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 13, at about 3:50 p.m. Deputies had performed a traffic stop on a vehicle, a Ford F-250, near the intersection of Highway 26 and Highway 92, in Garden County. Troopers responded to the scene and were requested to take over as the primary investigators.

Upon investigation, troopers believed that Quinn, 44, of Lisco, had assaulted a woman in her vehicle while the two were driving in Keith County, Thomas said. According to an affidavit in the case, Quinn had struck her girlfriend during an argument, knocking out the woman’s tooth. Troopers said in the affidavit that troopers observed red marks on the woman’s neck and a swollen lip.

Quinn was tried in August 2021 and convicted of third-degree domestic assault, a Class I misdemeanor, and sentenced by Judge Edward Steenburg to six months probation.

The Nebraska Attorney General’s Office prosecuted Quinn’s case.

Quinn served for more than a decade as the Garden County Sheriff and had served with the department for more than 20 years with the department.

The Star-Herald left a message for Garden County Commissioner Chair Dixann Krajewski for information on how the county has proceeded or plans to proceed with the appointment of a new sheriff, but had not yet received a returned call as of press time.

In Nebraska, a law enforcement officer’s certification can be revoked upon conviction of a misdemeanor. The Nebraska Police Standards Advisory Council is scheduled to consider and accept Herbel and Quinn’s voluntary surrender of their law enforcement certification during the council’s Jan. 19 meeting, according to the council’s agenda.

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