Valley Center police chief resigning from department

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VALLEY CENTER, Kan. Valley Center Police Chief Mark Hephner has announced his resignation.

The announcement comes about one week after Thomas Delgado, a sergeant with the department was arrested on multiple charges including rape, sexual battery and sexual exploitation of a child.

The arrest has been followed by questions from the public over what Hephner knew about Delgado and when.

During his time with the sheriff's office, Delgado was the subject of an internal investigation regarding inappropriate behavior with a minor. He was found at fault and disciplined.

"Ultimately, we did come to the conclusion that our police department failed to request and obtain some key information from Sedgwick County," Dove says.

Dove says she's sure Hephner didn't know about Delgado's disciplinary history when hiring him, but the city needs to rebuild public confidence in the police department and among the remaining officers.

Valley Center City Administrator Scott Hildebrand says Hephner called him last night (Tuesday). He says the chief met with him and Dove this afternoon (Wednesday) to offer his resignation.

Hildebrand says the resignation is effective immediately.

"The police department is currently under a microscope and I think the chief is frustrated with the direction things are going with the investigation," Hildebrand says.

Dove says there are already changes made to how the city performs background checks for potential hires, hoping to prevent something like this from happening again.