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IOWA CITY

As she quits, UI police officer slams administration for making an 'artform of labor violations'

University of Iowa police. (file photo)
University of Iowa police. (file photo)

IOWA CITY — In a letter resigning as a University of Iowa police officer, Jaclyn Anderson last week accused the administration of “self-serving, inflammatory, unfair, and discriminatory” hiring, firing and promotional practices.

She asserted the UI department has made “violating federal and state labor laws an art form.”

She submitted the letter June 3 to UI Department of Public Safety Director Scott Beckner, also copying UI President Bruce Harreld, Senior Vice President Rod Lehnertz, the State of Iowa Ombudsman and the UI senior human resources director.

The letter follows four lawsuits filed last year by former officers against Beckner and other administrators alleging discrimination and other improprieties.

“Each active lawsuit involving the department’s labor practices are not without merit,” Anderson wrote.

The UI would not respond to The Gazette’s questions about the letter and its allegations.

“Information regarding employee investigations is considered personal information in confidential personnel records, and shall be kept confidential pursuant to Iowa Code,” UI spokeswoman Hayley Bruce said in an email.

Although Anderson has raised concerns, she has not filed a lawsuit, said Skylar Limkemann, a lawyer with Smith Mills & Schrock Law of Cedar Rapids.

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Two years ago, the UI hired a Des Moines firm to review its employment policies and practices after a jury sided with former UI Associate Athletics Director Jane Meyer over her allegations administrators discriminated against her based on gender and sexual orientation.

The UI settled with both Meyer and her longtime partner, former UI Field Hockey Coach Tracey Griesbaum, for a combined $6.5 million.

The employment review found no “inequitable treatment of applicants or employees on the basis of protected class” in the athletic department. It also is looking into academic and operational units, including UI Public Safety and UI Health Care.

Anderson began as a UI police officer in February 2012. With 18 years of police experience, she most recently was assigned to a department police dog named Falo, a Belgian Malinois.

Among his accomplishments, Falo located the gun in the 2015 Coral Ridge Mall murder.

An illness — spinal stenosis — in December forced his retirement at just 5 years old.

Anderson in her letter reported applying for another police dog assignment and being passed over for other “competent, hardworking” candidates — complicating her decision to complain about the process.

“They don’t deserve more garbage heaped upon them as a result of the incompetence and mismanagement within the department’s administration,” she wrote. “However, the process to assign K-9 handlers is so fundamentally flawed, it appears that a formal grievance process is the only way to insure it changes.”

In her grievance, Anderson reported being asked “unscripted, prejudicial, and retaliatory questions that were not asked of the other candidates” during her interview for another dog.

She acknowledged being the subject an internal investigation involving a boarding violation with Falo. Anderson admitted responsibility, which Limkemann said involved new rules about boarding police dogs outside the state.

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“There are many other problems that were born and continue to live within the halls of the UIPD administration,” Anderson wrote in her letter. “Now that Falo has retired, my moral compass and ethical grounding will no longer allow me to be a part of this or stay silent.”

l Comments: (319) 339-3158; vanessa.miller@thegazette.com

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