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Rolfe police chief files suit

Lawsuit targets city, five people

December 28, 2012
By JOE SUTTER, , Messenger News

ROLFE - Rolfe Police Chief Don Westering has filed a civil suit against members of the Rolfe City Council, two Rolfe residents and the city of Rolfe.

A petition and jury demand was filed on Dec. 17 listing as defendants Rolfe residents Dan Allen and Mary Allen; council members Joni Ham, Lana Pratt and Al Kuchenreuther; and the city of Rolfe, according to Iowa Courts Online,

Westering declined to comment Thursday night, saying all questions should be directed to his attorney, Paul Lundberg, of Sioux City.

The defendants and Lundberg were not available for comment at press time.

In August, the Rolfe City Council voted 4-1 to recommend that Westering be dismissed for misconduct after hearing testimony from citizens both for and against his dismissal. Ham, Pratt, Kuchenreuther and Joe Ramaekers voted to dismiss, while Councilman David Thoren voted against the dismissal. Dan and Mary Allen were among the citizens who spoke in favor of Westering's dismissal.

But under Iowa law, the final decision to fire Westering was up to Mayor Mike Hayek. Hayek announced two weeks after the August meeting that he would not dismiss Westering.

Westering said then that the attempt to remove him was a "personal attack" against him, and maintained he had done nothing wrong.

On Dec. 13, the City Council voted unanimously to eliminate Rolfe's one-person police force - composed solely of Westering - and instead rely on Pocahontas County sheriff's deputies to protect the community.

The council said the decision was purely financial.

"This is no reflection on a current or past officer of the city of Rolfe," Pratt said at that meeting. "This is strictly a financial, black and white thing to look at."

The suit was filed four days after that meeting.

Westering's filing means he is seeking a jury trial, according to the Iowa Judicial Branch website.



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