April 19, 2014

Appeals court upholds firing of Fort Madison cop

The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld the firing of a cop who was having a “romantic relationship” with his police chief’s wife.

Former Fort Madison police officer William Bowker served on Lee County’s narcotics task force for 16 months, but he was dismissed from that role and went back to his police squad. He then started a romance with a reserve officer in the department — who was married to Fort Madison’s police chief.

Fort Madison’s city manager fired Bowker after an investigation of his conduct on the drug task force, plus other infractions like sleeping on the job and using the office computer for personal matters. A district court ruled Bowker’s affair with the police chief’s wife was a “major breach of decorum” and the Iowa Court of Appeals has agreed, upholding his firing. In its ruling, the appeals court said while other officers had not been disciplined for having affairs, the “very public affair” Bowker and the police chief’s wife were having “gave the department a black eye.”