A 25-year veteran with the Division of Criminal Investigation has been fired following an incident involving Governor Branstad`s speeding SUV.
The Department of Public Safety says Larry Hedlund`s termination had nothing to do with that incident.
When DCI Special Agent Larry Hedlund spotted a vehicle going estimated 90-miles per hour on Highway 20 last April, he had no idea who was inside. He radioed a state trooper, who pursued the vehicle, until the occupants were identified as Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds.
The alleged law breaker, a trooper driving the governor’s vehicle, was never stopped or ticketed.
Three days later, Hedlund wrote an email to his superior, “I don`t believe the governor is above the law. I don`t believe anyone has the authority to order me to not do my job.”
Three days after that, Hedlund was placed on leave and Wednesday he was fired.
Termination documents cite unbecoming or prohibited conduct, Hedlund`s behavior and his unlawful use of state property.
While the DPS and the Governor’s Office deny Hedlund’s termination had anything to do with the governor`s speeding SUV, Hedlund’s attorney says it had everything to do with it.
“We think the incident with the governor was sort of the straw that broke the camel`s back,” says attorney, Tom Duff. He believes the timing of the suspension was no coincidence.
He also points to Hedlund’s otherwise spotless record.
But there were on-going disagreements between Hedlund and his superiors.
DPS claims Hedlund made disparaging remarks about DCI Director Chari Paulson saying “Her position on this issue shows a glaring and fundamental lack of understanding and appreciation of what the agents do in the field.”
“They asked for his opinion and the input of other agents about what the best way to do this or that and he would give them his opinion and I think sometimes they didn`t want to hear it,” says Duff.
The state will be hearing from Hedlund again… in court.
Duff says he plans to file a lawsuit claiming wrongful termination and will seek damages for lost wages, benefits and emotional distress.