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Hitchcock responds to Danker’s claims of “Baseless allegations”


May 4th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A candidate for Sheriff in Pottawattamie County has issued a press release responding to Sheriff Jeff Jeff Danker’s claims his opponent made “Baseless allegations” against him.

John W. Hitchcock, (R) candidate for Sheriff/ Pott. Co., IA

Republican John Hitchcock says he took it upon himself to look into several complaints that he thought required additional information and scrutiny. Hitchcock says after announcing his political campaign to run for Sheriff of Pottawattamie County, members of the public began to bring numerous complaints to his attention regarding incumbent Sheriff Danker’s Office.

Hitchcock, who’s from Council Bluffs, is a Senior Trooper with the Iowa State Patrol. He says after reviewing the complaints on his off-duty time, making and paying for open records request under the open records laws under the Code of Iowa, many of the complaints were discarded or found to have no factual basis. But some of the complaints, in his opinion, required additional scrutiny.

He says since it would be a huge conflict of interest for him to conduct an investigation against Danker, a law enforcement officer, he made the decision to turn the information  over to a non-biased third party. He says on his personnel time, he made “The ethical and moral choice,” and turned the information over to his direct supervisor, with the understanding the Iowa State Patrol turned over the information for review to the Pottawattamie County Attorney Matt Wilber. Wilber claimed a conflict of interest and turned it over to Dallas County Attorney Wayne Reisetter for review.

Hitchcock says Reisetter did not contact him regarding any of the information that was released Thursday, for review, prior to issuing his opinion. He says it appears Reistter’s opinion was reached only by using the information provided by Hitchcock, and to his knowledge, no further investigation was conducted Reisetter. In his press release, Hitchcock said Danker released only “Small portions” of Reisetter’s letter, and he scolded the media for not requesting “All documents related to this information, instead of sound bites chosen by the Jeff Danker campaign during this primary election.” He suggested the citizens of Pottawattamie County request a copy of the letter and review it themselves.

He also blamed Danker for the situation, claiming he “Has not released a platform as to his plans for the next four years,” and instead chose to create a press release about Hitchcock’s allegations. Hitchcock said it was Danker’s campaign that “Has chosen to expose the questionable activities by his administration,” and questions if the long-time Sheriff has any plans for the next four-years, “Or is he only relying on his name to get him elected?”

Iowa early News Headlines: Friday, May 4th 2012


May 4th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Waterloo police have arrested a suspect in a shooting that left a woman dead and her daughter wounded. Police arrested 33-year-old Kevin Ambrose during a raid on a Waterloo apartment building yesterday. Authorities say Ambrose is a suspect in Wednesday’s night shooting that killed 59-year-old Kay Straw and wounded her daughter, 33-year-old Marlene Buss.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa City has ordered a bar to tear down a platform where a student says she was told she was too overweight to dance. The city’s housing and inspection services department has sent a formal violation to The Union Bar, demanding the platform be removed by today. The platform, which is 4-feet square and 4-feet tall, overlooks the dance floor.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Governor Terry Branstad has approved a measure to create a state Public Information Board to ensure Iowa’s open records and meetings laws are enforced. The Republican governor signed the bill into law yesterday at a signing ceremony. The event capped a six-year effort to improve access to government meetings and records.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Officials in Des Moines are considering opening a dog park at a downtown spot along the Des Moines River. The City Council will consider the proposal on Monday. Plans call for a fenced off-leash area, a dog waste station and portable restrooms for people.

2012 Vietnam Veterans Recognition Ceremony


May 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Iowans will honor their Vietnam Veterans at a remembrance ceremony to be held Monday, May 7th, 2012, beginning at 12:00 p.m. at the Vietnam Memorial − located on the south side of the State Capitol in Des Moines. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Vietnam War.

The ceremony will include keynote speaker Bill McCarthy, Vietnam Veteran, Sheriff, Polk County, Iowa, and guest speaker Lawrence Paul, Vietnam Veteran, retired IWD Executive Officer, Mason City. 

The event is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs, who invites you to join them, as we remember those who served, and those who sacrificed their lives for our country.

Government Agencies Provide Resources to Iowans on Bullying / Cyber-Bullying


May 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Bullying has been recognized as a widespread problem and the recent instances of bullying highlighted in the media bring this topic to the forefront for Iowans.  In response, the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Department of Public Safety, Iowa Civil Rights Commission, Office of The Attorney General Tom Miller, and Office of The Governor Terry Branstad are working in partnership to provide information and resources to Iowans on the topic of bullying and cyber-bullying.

A 2011 study by the Pew Research Center on Teens and Social Media found that 88% of social media-using teens have witnessed other people being mean or cruel on social networking sites and 15% of social media-using teens say they have been the victim of online meanness.  Another study in 2009 sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics who conducted the National Crime Victimization Survey / School Crime Supplement found that 28% of 12-18 year old students stated they had been bullied at school during the school year and 6% stated they had been victims of cyber-bullying.

In light of the alarming statistics these agencies have formed a partnership to continue to educate Iowans and to provide necessary resources to address bullying and cyber-bullying.  Resources have been provided to every school district in the State of Iowa, including links to websites containing teaching materials, presentations, safety education kits, and other information for school use in educating Iowa students.  In addition, the Iowa Internet Crimes against Children Task Force and Iowa State Patrol Safety Education Officers (SEO’s) are available to provide presentations at Iowa schools on the topics of bullying, cyber-bullying, internet safety, and others.  Contact information for the SEO’s was provided to all Iowa school districts so they may arrange for these presentations when it fits with their curriculum. These agencies continue to communicate with each other as instances of bullying and cyber-bullying are discovered.  It is vital that state government assist local school districts with appropriate resources to address instances of bullying at the onset, and in-turn prevent the often tragic outcome of negative peer influences.

Online resources for parents are available at www.netsmartz.org, the Iowa Internet Crimes against Children website at www.iaicac.org, the National Crime Prevention Council website at www.ncpc.org, and www.cybersmart.org. These resources represent an important component of an overall school-wide bullying prevention effort.  Additional resources can be found on the Department of Education website at http://educateiowa.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1030&Itemid=2911 .

Officials say by striving to reach every Iowa student through our schools we can make a difference and put a stop to bullying in our state.

Pott County Sheriff warns of new scam


May 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Pottawattamie County Sheriff Jeff Danker is warning the public about a new sweepstakes mailing scam that purports to be the result of your shopping trip to a large chain store. The Sheriff says his office has received multiple complaints from citizens saying they were notified by mail, that they have won a sweepstakes by being randomly selected as a consumer that has shopped at a large, well-known chain store.

The notification includes a check, which the recipient is instructed to deposit, before remitting a “non-resident” tax to an address included in the letter. The mailing says the recipient would then be entitled to receive the remaining prize funds.

Danker says any person who receives any check, money order or negotiable instrument from an UNSOLICITED source, should be suspicious of the financial documents’ validity. He urges you to report ANY suspected fraudulent activity to your local law enforcement agency, prior to taking any other action.

Motorcycle pursuit ends in crash, chase, struggle and arrest


May 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Deputy and the suspect he was chasing suffered minor injuries following a high speed chase and foot pursuit in Council Bluffs Wednesday morning. Sheriff Jeff Danker says Deputy Mark Freeman engaged in the pursuit of a motorcycle driven by 44-year old Dean Putnam, of Council Bluffs westbound on 17th Street.

The chase wound its way through several City streets at speeds approaching 70-miles per hour before Putnam lost control and laid the bike down on its left side before it skidded to a stop. Danker says the man took off on foot from the scene with the deputy close behind.

Freeman caught up to Putnam and tackled him to the ground, where the two struggled. Danker says Putnam resisted arrest and was combative. The deputy called for assistance, which came in the form of officers with the Council Bluffs Police Department. Despite their efforts, Putnam continued to struggle with the officers, one of whom deployed a Taser.

While still resisting arrest, Danker says the officers were finally able to get handcuffs placed on Putnam, but his fight wasn’t over. The man allegedly struck Deputy Freeman several times in the right knee and right hand. Both men were transported to the hospital for treatment and evaluation.

Putnam was charged with Driving While Barred, Aggravated Assault on a Peace Officer, Felony Eluding, and Reckless Driving. He also had a warrant for his arrest issued out of Dubuque. Putnam was being held in the Pott. County Jail on $15,000 bond.

Bluffs woman injured during Wed. accident


May 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A Council Bluffs woman was injured during a single-vehicle accident late Wednesday morning. Pottawattamie County Sheriff Jeff Danker says 18-year old Rikki Aherns, from rural Council Bluffs, told deputies when her purse fell off the passenger seat of her Suzuki SUV, she reached over to grab it and lost control of the vehicle as it was traveling on Pioneer Trail just east of 220th Street, at around 11:45-a.m., Wednesday.

The SUV left the road and hit a power pole. Aherns was transported from the scene by LifeNet helicopter to a local hospital, but her injuries were not believed to be life threatening.

Pott. Co. Sheriff Responds to “Baseless Criminal Accusations”


May 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

(updated 10:45-a.m.)

Jeff Danker, Sheriff/Pottawattamie Co., IA

Pottawattamie County Sheriff Jeff Danker this (Thursday) morning, issued a press release in response to what he calls “Baseless allegations” brought against him and his former Chief Deputy, by his opponent, Republican John Hitchcock, in the upcoming election. Danker says over the past year, Hitchcock made more than 24 Freedom of Information Act (FOI) request from the Sheriff’s Office. Danker says they provided him with various pieces of information, including cell phone bills…clothing allowances…the purchase of vehicles…Information Technology policy, other polices and procedures. The Sheriff told KJAN News Hitchcock put together a group of about 11 items for review by County Attorney Matt Wilber. To make sure there was no conflict of interest or impropriety,  Wilber sent the information to Dallas County Attorney Wayne M. Reisetter.

Danker says he wasn’t even aware the private investigation was underway until the information Hitchcock requested came back from Dallas County. Reisetter indicated there was no need for criminal charges, and he was pointed in his response for having gone through the process to begin with. Danker says after review of the “Baseless criminal allegations,” Reisetter concluded ”The vast majority of the material does not appear to be remotely related to a cause for criminal investigation, raising a serious question as to whether the person (Hitchcock) making the allegations, has the remotest idea as to the function and scope of a criminal investigation, or of the limits of government intrusion by investigation.”

Danker says it’s disappointing to him that Hitchcock did whatever he could to come up with something to try and destroy his reputation so he would have a better shot at winning the election for Sheriff.” This election marks the first time Danker, who’s served the residents of Pottawattamie County as Sheriff for the past 20-years, and has been with the department for a total of 35-years, is facing an opponent. He says it appears Hitchcock is disparaging him in an attempt to win the election, because “He (Hitchcock) has no experience in administration or supervising law enforcement.”

Omaha man reaches plea deal in staged Onawa shooting


May 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Omaha World-Herald reports an Omaha man whom authorities say played a role in a staged shooting in Onawa on March 8th, has plead guilty to some of the charges originally filed against him. 19-year old Joseph A. Roberts agreed to plead guilty to extortion and reckless use of a firearm, in exchange for two other charges being dropped. The deal involves Roberts receiving a suspended 5-year sentence and 5-years of probation, to be served concurrently. The arrangement has yet to be approved by a judge.

As we previously reported, 32-year old Darren Hieber and 24-year old Brady Chapman were arrested in connection with a February 5th shooting at Hieber’s trucking business. Hieber told police he was shot in the leg while interrupting a burglary. Police say Hieber devised a scheme to have Chapman, his employee, shoot him with a .22-caliber rifle, to distract him from his personal problems. The Omaha World-Herald reported Hieber missed his estranged wife, and hatched the plan to try and get her back.

Authorities say Hieber was shot again on March 8th, after conspiring with Roberts and another Omaha man, 19-year old Timothy Culley, to have that event staged in-part, so the trio could allegedly extort money from Hieber’s family. Heiber and Culley have both entered pleas of not guilty in connection with the incident.

8AM Newscast 05-03-2012

News, Podcasts

May 3rd, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson