The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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July 25, 2013

Two fired after Iowa hazing inquiry


Guhl and Harrelson have filed union grievances over their firings, arguing their terminations were not justified.

The State Police Officers Council, a union representing 650 state workers, is defending them during arbitration proceedings. Guhl has a hearing Thursday in Des Moines, while Harrelson’s hearing is set for next month, said Sue Brown, the council’s executive director and general counsel.

“I think both of them have an excellent case for arbitration,” she said.

Brown declined comment when asked whether Guhl admitted involvement in the hazing incident and what his defense would be, saying she’ll save her arguments for the hearing. She said she is considering calling the initial criminal investigator, recently fired DCI Special Agent Larry Hedlund, to testify.

The union’s contract requires arbitrators to issue final, binding decisions within 30 days after a hearing.

Guhl, Harrelson and the accuser were among 32 recruits who completed a 20-week training course to become agents, troopers and fire investigators at the 2008 academy, learning tactics such as driving techniques, firearms use and emergency response.

State police applicants have to clear several hurdles including a physical fitness test, a background check and a psychological evaluation before they can be admitted to academy. Recruits are required to stay overnight at Camp Dodge in a military barracks during the week but go home on weekends.

Guhl, 33, joined the Iowa State Patrol’s District 12 in Muscatine County. Harrelson, 28, worked for the DCI’s gaming division, based in Council Bluffs.

Harrelson said he was never otherwise disciplined during his DCI career or during his 11 years in the Air Force, where he works part-time on aircraft electronics. He said he has pored through an 830-page investigative report issued after his firing, and claims there is no evidence that he was involved other than “a terribly inconsistent statement” from the accuser.

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