Des Moines Register- Department of Public Safety officer accused of helping handcuff a recruit to a bed, pour Gold Bond powder onto the man’s buttocks and rub him has been reinstated to his job and will be paid nearly $25,000 in back pay. The Iowa Appeal Board on Monday approved the $24,782 payment to Andrew Harrelson, a gaming officer in Council Bluffs. Harrelson and Joshua Guhl, a state trooper, were fired last year after another trooper accused them of the hazing incident. Guhl admitted involvement while Harrelson denied it. Both have been reinstated. The state contended the firings were justified because of conduct. But arbitrator Clair Brooks questioned in his October ruling why law enforcement aspirants hadn’t stepped forward at the time to stop the abuse. Brooks ruled that the state lacked proof and ordered Harrelson reinstated with back pay. He also ordered the removal of any disciplinary action from Harrelson’s personnel file. A change in Iowa’s open records law in 2012 made available for the first time lists of public employees who had been fired for misconduct. With the new information, the Register last year published a series of articles highlighting dozens of state employees who were originally fired but reinstated to jobs through an arbitrator’s decision, which is generally considered final. David Roederer, the head of the Iowa Department of Management, on Monday called the issue “disturbing.” “It’s disturbing when you’ve gone through the efforts to dismiss individuals and they’re brought back,” Roederer said.
What in the actual fuck is going on in Council Bluffs? I’m still trying to wrap my brain around what happened here. So two police officers get fired for hazing a trainee by handcuffing him to a bed and rubbing powder on his ass (there’s a sentence I didn’t think I’d type today or any day ever but here we are). First of all, that’s some Super Troopers shit right there. Now I’m just picturing these guys chugging syrup in a diner and giving mustache rides. Anyway so one of the officers admits to doing it while the other officers denies any involvement but they both get fired anyway. Case closed, right? Nope. Both somehow get reinstated and the guy who denied it all along, even though the evidence is pretty clear that he help in some way, gets almost $25,000 in back pay. Fucking bizarre. I have just one question: what does a state trooper have to do to get fired in the state of Iowa? That bar seems to be set pretty high now. Before reading the article I would’ve thought for sure “Handcuffing a trainee to a bed and rubbing Gold Bond on his ass” was on that list but that might just be the new normal.