Nearly Three Decade Long Law Enforcement Career Gone Over Forwarded Obama Related Email

A twenty seven year career on the job as a dedicated Iowa State Trooper without a single complaint, write-up or disciplinary action is swirling the bowl for Sgt. Rodney Hicok.

Iowa officials are preparing to fire this man for forwarding an email to people he knew a picture of several mugshots of folks from varying ethnic backgrounds who had been arrested while sporting tee shirts proudly displaying their support for Barack Obama during the recent presidential campaign.

obama_mug_shots-copy

This picture was forwarded in the email by Sgt. Hicok with the following comment,

”I’ve seen some unique individuals aka S-HEADS wearing these type shirts myself. He has quite a fan base. Nice to know that the low-lifes are getting involved in politics now.”

That’s it. This is the extent of what was sent and what was said by Sgt. Hicok in the forwarded email sent to people specifically chosen to receive the correspondence as opposed to him posting same on a personal website, forum or anywhere else in the public arena.

The hook? The true “crime” here?

Even though Sgt. Hicok sent the forwarded email while at HOME and OFF DUTY he committed the egregious sin of doing so on a state issued laptop computer.

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When this incident first hit the fan in January ’09 the Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Eugene Meyer said in a statement:

Des Moines, IOWA — “The Department of Public Safety Bureau of Professional Standards investigation into inappropriate emails forwarded by Sergeant Rodney Hicok from a state computer is complete. Here are the findings:

* Sergeant Hicok has been with the Iowa Department of Public Safety and the Iowa State Patrol for 27 years. Prior to this incident, his record was unblemished with not a single complaint filed against him.
* The investigation shows that Sergeant Hicok was at home and off-duty when he forwarded the inappropriate email from a state-issued laptop computer.
* I have determined that Sergeant Hicok was making a political statement, not a racial statement, but regardless he violated the department’s email policy. (emphasis added)
* He will remain as a Sergeant with the Iowa State Patrol, but his permanent file will reflect a 30 day suspension.
* Sergeant Hicok will also attend DPS training on departmental policies and procedures.

The results of the investigation into Sergeant Hicok’s misconduct are being released only with Sergeant Hicok’s knowledge and consent.”

So let me get this straight, had Sgt Hicok sent the the very same email through his personal computer rather than a state issued cpu everything would be just peachy? Or is the commissioner saying state troopers are not allowed to send any emails containing political content even when off duty and at home? And exactly what departmental policies and procedures would a 27 year veteran with a perfectly spotless record have to brush up on commissioner?

After Sgt. Hicok was called on the carpet for using a state issued computer to forward an allegedly politically tinged email he responded thusly:

“I am deeply sorry for my actions. I would like to apologize to all members of DPS for any embarrassment I have caused. I apologize to anyone this email may have offended, as well as my family, citizens in my community and Iowa taxpayers.”

“I have proudly served the DPS for 27 years, have done so with dignity and I do not have a blemish on my record. I wear the uniform proudly and have dedicated most of my life to the Iowa State Patrol. I can guarantee with 100% certainty that nothing like this will ever happen again. I regret what happened and wish I could take it back.”

Sincerely,
Sergeant Hicok

What a shame someone with an unblemished record after nearly three decades on the job has to drop to their knees and grovel in such a fashion, over nothing more than forwarding an accurate but arguably politically incorrect email, with the hope they could continue on with their career.

So much for hope.

The so called “transgression” committed by Hicok is laughable. The upper management could have handled this with a slap on the wrist and moved along, something that happens every day across this country but that doesn’t matter now.

A local Iowa State Patrol sergeant who was placed on leave twice this year while his conduct was investigated may lose his job, a state official confirmed Tuesday.

In a written statement, Public Safety Commissioner Eugene Meyer reported that he is moving to fire Sgt. Rodney Hicok, who is assigned to Post 7 in Webster County.

Hicok is fighting that action and has taken his case to the state’s Employment Appeal Board. He remains on paid leave until the appeal is concluded, according to the Department of Public Safety.

Hicok did not return a phone message left at his Webster City residence Tuesday evening.

His conduct was first called into question in January, when state officials learned that he used a state-owned laptop computer to forward an e-mail containing mug shots of accused criminals wearing shirts bearing President Barack Obama’s name and campaign logo. He was at home and off duty when he forwarded that e-mail.

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Oh I’ll bet a large beer some left wing hack got their hands on this email and predicting they had a potential little gold mine, exploited it for all it was worth. Had Hicok railed against George W. Bush he most likely would have received a briefing room ceremony complete with a fancy ‘You’re Number 1!” chest medal but since Obama was the butt of the mild joke the hammer came down. Disgraceful.

Was the Obama administration complicit in this harsh, over the top punishment Hicok has received over such a non issue? I wouldn’t doubt it considering the juveniles roaming the halls of our White House but alas there is no hard proof.

That said all we can do right now is wish the best for Sergeant Rodney Hicok and his family and hope something comes up, like maybe a half a million complaints to the commissioner, to change the course of events in this ridiculous situation but no, we won’t hold our breath.

Iowa Department of Public Safety
Eugene T. Meyer, Commissioner
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
Telephone Number: (515) 725-6182
Facsimile Number: (515) 725-6195

This entry was posted in Law Enforcement Issues.

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