NEVADA, Iowa -- There has been a mass exodus at the Nevada Police Department with most of the force's officers quitting. City leaders are refusing to talk about what they will do about it.
Cali Smith of Nevada got her wish. Last June, she called police twice when she says a man chased her into her home. But she says police never showed up. Nevada Police Officer Hillary Cale says she checked out Smith's garage, didn't see anything, so she left without first talking to Smith. Smith complained that, by not checking on her, officer Cale put her life in jeopardy and she demanded that Officer Cale be fired. Now, we're told Officer Cale has resigned from the Nevada Police Department. "I think because of the pressure that we put on her she knew that she was going to be under a magnifying glass and chose not to be," Smith said. "So that tickled me to death."
But Cale isn't alone. About half of the department's 10 officers are quitting. Police Chief Ricardo Martinez refused to answer our questions on camera, but confirms that Cale quit. He wouldn't say why. He also said at least three others will be going to other departments by the end of the month, and a couple more could leave next spring.
Smith didn't want that. "No. Absolutely not," she says, "That's pretty scary to me. And it should be scary to Nevada. But unfortunately Nevada is hiding under a rock."
And that seems to be the case. We reached out to every city council member. Most refused to comment. The rest did not return our calls for comment. The mayor hung up on us. We went to City Administrator Elizabeth Hanson's office. Even though I could see her through the glass, we were told we would have to make an appointment to talk with her. I called, and left a message, right in front of her, and she never called back.
Smith says with city leaders refusing to answer questions about the police department, and so many police officers jumping ship, she's scared. "You know, before when I made two 911 calls and nobody came," Smith says, "Well now they certainly won't come because there's nobody there to come. That's a pretty scary thought."
The city of Nevada did hire an outside agency to investigate Officer Cale's actions. During that investigation, Officer Cale testified she was wearing a body camera when she checked out Smith's home, but didn't turn it on. She also testified she was not disciplined. The outside agency determined that there was an inadequate response to Smith's call for help, but no further action was recommended.