Iowa Lawman Suspended After Pursuing Governor's Speeding SUV

Iowa police officer Larry Hedlund was trying to make sure a speeding car was pulled over. But he says he lost his job. The whole point of police and other public security jobs is to treat everyone equally before the law. So that means that any car gets pulled over for speeding, even if it's carrying a state governor. It appears it was that equal-minded approach to the law that motivated Larry Hedlund, a special agent with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, to pursue the case of one speeding car back on April 29. Hedlund was on duty when a black Chevrolet SUV was picked up as traveling Highway 20 at a "hard 90," as Hedlund sized it up at the time.

But unnamed patrol officers and dispatchers reportedly ditched the pursuit when they surmised that Iowa governor Terry Branstad was inside the car. (Pictured above is an image from video of the chase; the raw video is below.) In response, Hedlund decided after that weekend to complain to his managers about the special treatment, according to his lawyer, Tom Duff. The governor, for his part, says that he had no idea about what might have been going on. Regardless, two days later, Iowa state agents showed up at Hedlund's home to take his gun, badge, car, phone and laptop and told him that he was being placed on indefinite leave as of May 1, according to Duff. But after the Des Moines Register recently obtained audio of the incident, the Iowa Department of Public Safety confirmed that it was investigating the matter.

Hedlund's attorney says that his client was not surprised by his treatment. "He feared exactly what was going to happen. If he raised that issue, there was going to be some retaliation," Duff told The Associated Press. "If he raised that issue, there was going to be some retaliation. ... [i]f you ask him, he'd do it again."

Soon after Hedlund noticed the speeding car, he called a dispatcher for help and backup. He also clocked the SUV's speed at 84 miles per hour. But it soon became clear that this was no ordinary police chase when the SUV's license plates were not found in the system. Patrol officers, including Matthew Elmers, did eventually catch up to the SUV, even passing a school bus to get close to the car during a chase that covered 15 miles. But the speeding vehicle was never pulled over.

For Hedlund, the reason behind the hands-off treatment was all too clear. "It was the governor," he can be heard saying on the recording. "As if my career doesn't have enough problems the way it is," he added.

But Tim Albrecht, a spokesman for Branstad, said that despite the timing, Hedlund's leave was unrelated to the speeding incident. A 25-year veteran of the Iowa police force, Hedlund has had "other issues with leadership," in the words of his attorney. Officially, Hedlund was told the suspension resulted from his "insubordination."

For his part, Branstad said that he was completely unaware of the incident as it was happening. When contacted by Iowa television outlet WHO-TV, he said, "I don't try to backseat drive or tell the troopers what they should do. I have confidence in them and I think they do a good job."

The report from WHO-TV also pointed out that the results of the investigation may never make it to the public because they've been labeled a "confidential personnel matter."



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Bruce & Claudia

Sounds like the good governor has an Obama attitude. Even so, just another crooked politician.

July 10 2013 at 5:00 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Bruce & Claudia's comment
spookichick

Dummy, he's a Republican.

July 18 2013 at 11:15 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Hey,Grumpy

If the govenor needed to be somewhere that fast then he should have been in a helicopter.He and his driver also put everyone on that highway at risk.Money and power buys everything.If the govenor had any balls at all he would see the man returned to duty. Shame,Shame on you mister govenor!!

July 10 2013 at 1:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Fred

What gives the Governor the right to be speeding (his driver) 84 MPH? Was there an emergency, or other reasonable explanation for the speeding? Perhaps the Governor was just in a hurry and felt that he could have his driver break the law by speeding, and get away with it. Hedlund was suspended for trying to do his job and the Governor sits by laughing about it! I assume that the Governor's vehicle had an exempt license plate and that the Governor felt that he was exempt from laws ordinary people must follow. Fred Gramcko

July 10 2013 at 12:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kt Wager

jfrank5317 I gave you a thumbsup. No credit given though it says it did.

July 09 2013 at 5:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kt Wager

I find it amusing that I can't thumbs up the comments that point out the BLATANT corruption going on here. Anyone else having that problem? If that Governor had been molesting a child, would the cops have been told to stand down? Probably. Than they would have filed charges on the kid for false testimony afterword. Hello, FRANKLIN KIDS. I'd also like to point out.... everyone who clicks a thumbs up on these political articles but it doesn't get credited should post about it. Send up a big RED FLAG NO THUMBS UP. Start outing the censorship the corpogovt is using against us the citizens.

July 09 2013 at 5:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pattmak818

hey occ1020, would it kill ya,to throw in a few comma,s and a period ,once in a while !

July 09 2013 at 3:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
occ1020

EVERYONE KNOWS WHAT IS GOING ON HEAR IT WAS THE GOVERNOR AND HIS FRIENDS IN THE POLICE DEPT WANTED TO KEEP THAT POLICE OFFICER ON THE DOWN LOW SO THE GOVERNOR WOULD NOT GET IN TO TROUBLE WITH THE LAW THAT THE GOVERNOR SAYS HE GOS BY BUT THE GOVERNOR WANTS EVERYONE TO FOLLOW THE LAW BUT HE DOSE NOT HAVE TO THATS WHY THEY USED THAT POLICE OFFICER AS AN ESCAPE GOAT. SO IT GOS TO SHOW YOU HOW THE GOVERNOR USED HIS POWER TO SIDE STEP THE LAW AND TO PUT THE BLAME ON SOMEONE ELSE . IT MAKES ME SICK THAT AMERICA HAS TURNED IN TO A PIG STYE FROM THE GOVERMENT.

July 08 2013 at 8:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mn4470

Apparently the Iowa governor is a Republican. You have to give the cop credit, he knew that he was going to be retaliated against, and it came right on schedule. I don't think that anyone believes that the governor didn't know anything was going on. It would have been the same thing if it was a congressman or senator, they all believe that laws don't apply to them, and mostly, as you can see by their not being included in the national health plan, voting themselves raises, getting full salary for just one term of "work", and all the bribes they take, that they are right.
Don't fire the cop for doing his job, fire the governor for NOT doing his !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

July 08 2013 at 6:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
edny.ed

They always say the whistleblower was suspended for "other reasons."

July 08 2013 at 5:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jagentmike

I guess HRH the "GOV" is above the law. stories like this stink.

July 08 2013 at 10:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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