Public Safety

University Heights Police Chief Nate Petersen to leave the department in April

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University Heights Police Chief Nate Petersen will be leaving the police department in April, Mayor Louise From announced last week.

According to a statement from the mayor, Petersen submitted a letter of resignation on Feb. 28, stating he accepted a position in Illinois that will allow him to be closer to family.

The chief’s resignation came just a couple weeks after the city passed an ordinance banning racial and other types of profiling, the first of its kind in the state of Iowa, according to City Council member Silvia Quezada.

Petersen, 32, is the department’s third police chief to leave in the past three years. He was a sergeant with the department and named interim chief when his predecessor, Kris Lyon, was fired in March 2018. Former Chief Kenneth Stanley retired in February 2017.

Interim was removed from Petersen’s title in June. His salary was $63,000 per year.

In his resignation letter to the mayor, Petersen said his last day with the department will be April 12, stating that he has “other endeavors and goals that are pointing me in a different direction.”

From said she asked Petersen for more information regarding his resignation and received this statement:

“My employment with the City of University Heights has been a very rewarding experience. The officers of this department are some of the best I have ever worked with and continue to go above and beyond every day. The department and the city have made great strides forward during my tenure. Those achievements provide a stable foundation that officers can rely on in their mission to serve the citizens of this wonderful community with integrity and professionalism. I want to thank the city and the citizens of University Heights for allowing me to serve you for many great years.”

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From said the City Council is scheduled to appoint an interim chief at its April 9 meeting and is taking steps toward searching for a new chief.

“As Mayor of University Heights, I was one of many to witness Chief Petersen’s impact on the community first hand,” From said in the news release, adding the chief had done “many things” to “enhance our quality of life,” that included recruiting and retaining qualified officers, upgrading police department equipment, helping to develop new programs and aiding in the development of the city’s new anti-racial profiling ordinance.

“He is a very fine police officer and gentleman,” From said. “He will be missed.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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