Police Say Speeding Tickets Are All About Discretion

By Forrest Saunders, Reporter

DES MOINES, Iowa - Tuesday, dash cam video surfaced of an Iowa State Trooper pursuing a speeding black Chevy SUV on Highway 20 between Cedar Falls and Fort Dodge, back in April. In an audio recording, you can hear DCI Special Agent Larry Hedlund call a state dispatcher for help in pulling over the SUV that he was going a "hard 90."

State Patrol started a pursuit, but backed off when they learned the SUV was being driven by a fellow officer and Governor Terry Branstad was a passenger.

Five days later the DCI put Hedlund on administrative leave after he complained to his superiors that Branstad's driver got a free pass.

Wednesday, Branstad said that decision was not related to the speeding incident. But Hedlund's attorney insists it was retaliation.

Governor Branstand and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds said they weren't aware of the event until Tuesday. The Governor told press Wednesday his security personal are not above the law.

"I believe that everybody ought to be treated equally and fairly under the law," he said.

Police in Marion said issuing speeding tickets is not black and white, more of a gray zone. They said their department only pulls people over when drivers reach a certain speed over the limit. Then, writing a ticket is up to the officer.

"Maybe they're going over the speed limit because she's delivering a baby in the back seat. I mean, they still have a lot of discretion on giving a speeding ticket out," said Chief Harry Daugherty.

However, Chief Daugherty said it's policy that none of his officers exceed the speed limit unless they're headed to an emergency. He said if one officer spots another breaking that rule, the offender is reported.

"If they see something like that then they are required to let their supervisor know what they saw," said Daugherty. "There would be an internal investigation."

The state Department of Public Safety is reviewing the speeding incident. The governor said he believes the department will determine the best way to handle the situation.
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