Public Safety

C.R. police officer fired after second drunken driving arrest

He argues he has work-related disabilities from responding to 'horrific shootings'

A Cedar Rapids police car. (Gazette file photo)
A Cedar Rapids police car. (Gazette file photo)

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids police officer with “diagnosed, work-related disabilities from responding to horrific shootings” has been fired after a second drunken driving arrest.

Officer Austin Mensen was fired from the Cedar Rapids Police Department on Sept. 24, 2019, after an administrative investigation found he violated police department policy, according to Greg Buelow, Cedar Rapids public safety spokesman.

Mensen, 29, appealed the firing and presented his case to the city’s Civil Service Commission in December 2019. During a meeting Monday, the commission affirmed the firing by Police Chief Wayne Jerman.

Mensen’s attorney, Skylar Limkemann of Cedar Rapids, said in a statement that the commission, “in four sentences ... rubber-stamped the termination of a police officer who undisputably had diagnosed, work-related disabilities from responding to horrific shootings. There were no findings of fact, conclusions of law, or reasons given in the commission’s ruling. Austin is weighing his options for further action.”

Mensen was arrested by the Anamosa Police Department for driving on the wrong side of a two-way highway and a second offense operating while intoxicated at 2:27 a.m. May 27, 2019, according to Buelow.

Mensen pleaded guilty to the drunken driving second-offense charge, an aggravated misdemeanor, while the wrong-way driving charge was dismissed in late July 2019, according to Iowa Courts Online.

The first drunken driving arrest was before his employment with Cedar Rapids police, according to Buelow. The charge is not logged in Iowa Courts Online, indicating it occurred out of state or before he turned 18.

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Mensen was hired as a Cedar Rapids police officer on July 5, 2016, and graduated among a class of 14 from the 44th Basic Cedar Rapids Regional Police Academy in November 2016.

He received additional honors, including the academic award for the highest combined score of tests given during the academy and also the “top gun” award for the recruit with the highest combined score of firearms qualifications scores.

Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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