Iowa law enforcement agent fired after reporting Republican governor’s car for speeding
An agent of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) claims he was fired from his job after reporting Gov. Terry Branstad (R)’s vehicle for speeding. According to the Des Moines Register, Larry Hedlund, 55, intends to sue the state after being fired at the end of a 2 and a half month investigation that could leave him unemployable in law enforcement.
“I’ve been treated like a criminal,” Hedlund, who has a 25-year record with the Division with no previous discipline issues, said to the Register Wednesday. “The best analogy I can give you is that they investigated me like I was a murderer, and in the process they murdered my career.”
DCI officials would not comment on personnel matters to the Register, but paperwork Hedlund provided to the paper said that he was being dismissed from the division due to “negative and disrespectful messages” he emailed to subordinates about DCI leadership, for misusing a state vehicle and for being “deceptive” with supervisors.
The paperwork included a signed notice from DCI Director Charis Paulson that read, “After careful consideration, it is apparent that your employment with the Iowa Department of Public Safety has been counterproductive to the best interests of the department. Your actions and deportment represent behavior that is unacceptable and warrants discharge.”
Hedlund’s problems at the department began on April 26, when he radioed dispatchers about a vehicle traveling “a hard 90” miles per hour. Troopers, who clocked the car at 84 m.p.h., pulled over the SUV and discovered that it was a being driven my a fellow trooper, who was transporting Gov. Branstad. They waved the vehicle on, but shortly after, Hedlund filed a complaint with his supervisor, DCI Dir. Paulson.
His superiors in turn filed a formal complaint against Hedlund and on April 30 and he was suspended from duty at the behest of Public Safety Commissioner K. Brian London. The Department of Public Safety issued a statement saying that Hedlund was being investigated because of prior “work rule violations,” not because of his actions on April 26.
Hedlund’s termination papers quote extensively from a series of emails he sent earlier this year about a new requirement that agents type their field reports rather than dictate them. Paulson said that Hedlund’s comments show “a glaring and fundamental lack of understanding and appreciation of what the agents do in the field” and that his tone was disrespectful and unprofessional.
Hedlund told the Register that while his emails may have been “outspoken” and “passionate” about the reports and other issues, he would never have thought he would lose his job because of his tone.
“We do very serious work,” Hedlund said. “We do very demanding work. We deal with cases where little children are murdered and sexually abused and adults are murdered. You know, it’s not for the faint of heart. It tends to make you a little bit blunt.”
Watch video about this story, embedded below via the Des Moines Register: