Officials in the western Iowa town of Harlan aren’t saying why two police officers were fired last week, though the men -do- face charges in a hunting incident from last year. One of the officers, Brad Wendt, showed up for work Monday and was told he could resign or be fired. On Tuesday, Wendt asked ‘Why?’ at the Harlan City Council meeting.
City Administrator Terry Cox said employment is "at-will" and the working relationship had ended. Cox says "Our city attorney says that’s their final decision, that’s their final decision. That’s the law in the state of Iowa. Some days you like it, some days you don’t." The answer didn’t satisfy the fired officer, Wendt.
Wendt says "Would that be a reasonable answer for you if you guys wanted to know why you were fired after 47 years. I mean, a guy has a wife and kids, is put out on the street and when people call to say ‘Hey, why doesn’t he have a job anymore,’ you’re not going to tell them? You know how hard it is to get a job in this line of work when they call and say ‘Hey, why doesn’t this guy work there anymore’ and you won’t answer that question?" Wendt says.
Officer Aaron Holtz and four other western Iowa men were charged with hunting violations in Cass and Adair Counties last November. The charges stem from alleged violations including trespassing, shooting from the roadway, and pursuing a deer with a motor vehicle. Holtz and Wendt have NOT been convicted of the charges.