Government

West Union demonstrators stand up for former K-9 officer

Decision due Friday on who keeps the police dog

Demonstrators show support Thursday for Officer Sierra Fox outside West Union City Hall. (Jeff Reinitz/Waterloo Courier)
Demonstrators show support Thursday for Officer Sierra Fox outside West Union City Hall. (Jeff Reinitz/Waterloo Courier)

WEST UNION — About a dozen people braved wind and chilly temperatures Thursday morning to show their support for a West Union police officer who said she was forced to resign after lodging complaints about the city’s police chief.

As demonstrators held signs declaring “We stand with her” and “Xena stays with Fox,” passing vehicles occasionally honked, including a pickup truck carrying Sierra Fox.

Demonstrators are asking city officials to allow Fox, formerly the police department’s K-9 handler, to keep her dog, Xena, after her departure from the force.

“We are hoping they figure out a better plan for her,” organizer Heather Bettmeng said.

Among the demonstrators was Fox’s sister, Sawyer Hand, bearing a sign stating, “Do the right thing.”

“I’ve been around Xena the last three years,” she said. “She’s not just a working dog. She is family to all of us. “So we really want to be here to support that, and we really want to (protest) the discrimination Sierra has dealt with, we want something to be done about it.”

Fox, whose resignation was up for a City Council vote last Monday, has until Friday to return Xena to the police department.

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City Administrator Nick McIntyre said officials are in the process of working with Fox’s attorney.

“We continue to work through our process and continue to work to an outcome that works for everybody,” McIntyre said.

One of the options on the table is having another K-9 handler evaluate Xena to see if she should be retired from the department or continue to serve. The evaluation would take about a week, McIntyre said.

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