Red Oak Police Chief Justin Rhamy says Officer Ethen Schoonover has been terminated following a nearly month-long investigation into an alleged domestic abuse assault in nearby Shenandoah. Rhamy’s department was notified by Shenandoah police about an incident involving an off-duty officer.
“Upon receiving that notification and those documents, we immediately called the Iowa Department of Public Safety, the Division of Criminal Investigation side of it, and requested their assistance in conducting the investigation,” Rhamy says.
The officer was immediately placed on paid administrative leave. Following the investigation by state officials, the county attorney in Page County reviewed the information. Rhamy says it was imperative to have outside agencies handle every aspect of the investigation, to avoid the appearance of conflicts of interest.
“We wanted to remain transparent, sustain integrity not only in our department, but within the community as well, and then also continue to garner their trust,” he says. “Nationwide, there’s a lot going on with law enforcement and the public’s not necessarily trusting of us at this time, so this is one of those situations where we just had to do it, obviously, in order to gain the public’s trust in the investigation.”
On Tuesday, Schoonover was charged with domestic abuse assault. He appeared before a magistrate and was released after posting a three-hundred dollar ($300) bond. Schoonover worked in the Red Oak Police Department for about eight months.
(Reporting by Mike Peterson, KMA, Shenandoah)