A former DCI agent says he filed a lawsuit Thursday to regain control of his career and reputation.
“I’m not here to damage anyone else reputation, I’m here to try and defend my own,” Larry Hedlund said.
Hedlund was fired from the Division of Criminal Investigation a month ago shortly after he filed a complaint about Governor Branstad’s speeding SUV driven by a state trooper.
Hedlund says he was treated unfairly for raising concerns about what he saw as problems within the Department of Public Safety. He is now accusing his superiors of wrongful termination.
Back in April when the speeding incident happened, the 25-year veteran decided to complain to his superiors.
Something Hedlund and his wife say they knew was a risk.
“The last thing we said to each other that day was she asked me if I was sure if I wanted to file this complaint and I told her I was,” Hedlund recounted.
Two days after Hedlund filed the complaint, he was suspended.
He was then fired in July after an internal investigation.
“I would do it again in a heartbeat,” a defiant Hedlund said.
Hedlund’s attorney, Tom Duff, says Hedlund was fired for speaking out about the speeding incident, “He took immediate and appropriate action to voice these concerns, for that he was suspended, very publically fired, his reputation was destroyed.”
With no previous negative work history, Hedlund filed a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Hedlund states in the lawsuit that he raised multiple concerns to his superiors over what he called violations of the law and abusive authority within DPS.
He says the work environment at DPS is unhealthy, people work in fear and are afraid to speak up like he did.
“I think some people have confused leadership and dictatorship and if you`re not following the person in charge I think you’re going to have a target on your back,” Hedlund said.
Hedlund says that since he was fired, he has lost the trust of friends and former co-workers.
“People I’ve known for 25-years have expressed a fear in communicating with me for fear that they will have retaliation taken against them by the DPS.”
Now, he says, he begins the difficult task of rebuilding his once sterling reputation.
We reached out to DPS. They won’t comment on the issue until they fully read through the lawsuit.