Division of Criminal Investigation agent removed from duty 5 days after he encouraged troopers to pull over Iowa governor's speeding vehicle
The removal from duty of a prominent Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation agent came five days after he encouraged Iowa State Patrol troopers to pull over a speeding vehicle that, it turns out, contained Gov. Terry Branstad, records obtained by The Des Moines Register show.
A review of speeding by the governor’s vehicle is underway, according to a Department of Public Safety spokesman.
Audio files obtained this morning from the department show Fort Dodge-based Special Agent in Charge Larry Hedlund first telephoned a state patrol dispatcher at roughly 2 p.m. on April 26 to report a black SUV doing “a hard 90” on Highway 20 east of Interstate 35.Recorded telephone calls show that Hedlund was calling out mile markers as troopers coordinated a traffic stop on the vehicle, which for some reason did not appear in computerized state vehicle registration records.
“Maybe it’s the feds and they’re making a movie,” a joking dispatcher speculated while troopers were working to get into position.
Troopers eventually clocked the vehicle at 84 mph. An in-car video shows the responding trooper got close to Branstad’s vehicle but never ordered it to pull over. A communications log indicates the trooper advised that “this turned out to be Car 1.”
Hedlund then was contacted by the responding officer and later called the dispatcher again to report what had happened.
“As if my career doesn’t have enough problems the way it is,” Hedlund said with a chuckle. “It was the governor.”
Hedlund, a 25-year department veteran, was relieved of his duties on May 1. He has overseen much of the DCI’s work in northern and northeastern Iowa as supervisor of that region since 2010.
His lawyer has said Hedlund was placed on administrative leave shortly after he filed internal department complaints about his superiors and about another government official, whom the lawyer declined to name.
Attorney Thomas Duff said Hedlund was suspended based on allegations that included insubordination and "what I would characterize as minor rule violations."
"Our position is that they're pretextual charges," Duff said earlier this month.