11 April 2007
HARLAN -- Two former Harlan police officers were among a group of
individuals pleading guilty to hunting violations dating back to an
investigation last November.
Aaron A. Holtz, 29, and Bradley Wendt, 30, pleaded guilty in Cass
County District court last week to one count of pursuing a deer and
Also pleading guilty to those same charges were Kent Gries, 28, Elk
Horn, a police officer in Coon Rapids; Daniel Grabill, 28, Harlan; and
Dustin A. Hansen, 19, Harlan.
The five men were fined $165 each plus court costs.
Wendt also is charged in Adair County with failure to display license
Wendt, Hansen and Ross Burchett, 28, Harlan, face additional charges
in Adair County of shooting a rifle over water. Burchett also faces
charges in Cass County of trespassing and pursing a deer in a vehicle.
Trial dates for those additional charges are this month.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources, in cooperation with the
Iowa State Patrol, charged the individuals with numerous hunting
violations alleged to occur November 24, 2006.
Former police officers Wendt and Holtz were fired by The City of
Harlan in early February. Both came to work Monday, Feb. 5 and were told
they were no longer Harlan Police officers.
Harlan city officials offered no specific reasons for the two
officers' termination, but did say they had been reviewing the situation
over a few months.
Both Wendt and Holtz have said they are fighting the terminations,
hoping to regain their positions and force city officials to admit their
mistake in letting them go from the police force. They have met with a
union attorney, and said they feel they were fired unjustly. They want
their jobs back just long enough to clear their names and find another
job in law enforcement.
Meanwhile, the city has moved on, hiring two officers to replace
Wendt and Holtz. David Stout, currently a certified officer with the
Stuart Police Department, and Nate Christensen, Harlan, will come on
board later this month.