Halstead’s former police chief entered a no contest plea Tuesday afternoon to two misdemeanors involving the theft of ammunition from the city.
Steven C. Lewis was sentenced to 60 days in jail on each count, to run concurrently, said Harvey County Attorney David Yoder. But the judge suspended the term and let him go free after Lewis agreed to pay $1,255 in restitution to the City of Halstead and $230 in court costs, follow all laws and surrender his law enforcement certification to the Kansas Commission on Peace Officer’s Standards and Training.
The sentence follows the terms attorneys negotiated for Lewis in his plea agreement. In exchange, Yoder dismissed a felony charge alleging Lewis misused public funds in 2011.
“The City of Halstead is officially glad to have this part of the investigation involving their community resolved and behind them,” Yoder said after the plea hearing.
Lewis’ defense attorney said the former chief entered the no-contest plea to “quickly resolve this case.”
“After 37, almost 38, years as a law enforcement officer, it is unfortunate that Mr. Lewis’ career concluded in this fashion,” Sal Intagliata said. But, he said, Lewis “didn’t want continued media coverage on him and his family because it was affecting them both. So he thought this was … the most appropriate way to resolve this.”
Lewis was arrested and booked on a warrant in August.
The charges against him arose after a KBI investigation found that Lewis endorsed and deposited into his personal bank account checks meant to reimburse the City of Halstead for ammunition he ordered for private individuals in 2012 and 2013. As police chief, Lewis was responsible for ordering ammunition for the police department.
Halstead’s former city administrator, James R. Hatfield, also is facing a felony charge of perjury associated with Lewis and a KBI investigation. He’s accused of failing to disclose to Kansas CPOST the reason for Lewis’ retirement from the department.
Hatfield is due in court for a preliminary hearing on March 23, Yoder said. If convicted, he could face five to 17 months in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.