Western Iowa Police Chief Resigns After Controversy Over Inappropriate Pictures

DENISON, IA – Denison Mayor Dan Leinen asked for and received Police Chief John Emswiler’s resignation on Thursday morning.
Leinen said that he had asked for Emswiler’s resignation as a result of an ongoing performance review.

Members of the City Council had expressed a growing lack of confidence in Emswiler, Leinen said.

He planned to spend most of the day Thursday working out how the police department will function without a chief.

In early February, Emswiler became embroiled in a controversy about inappropriate pictures that he admitted creating. He left the images in a file on his police department computer after being told to discontinue the practice several years ago by former Police Chief Rod Bradley.

The file was removed by someone with access to the police department computer system and images from the file were published on Facebook.

Some of the images were digitally altered by Emswiler to add the faces of police department and sheriff’s department employees to sexual imagery.

Suspended police officer Brad Wendt filed a lawsuit against the city and Emswiler, claiming that his face was used on one of the images and that his image came from confidential Iowa Department of Transportation files.

The lawsuit is ongoing.

Leinen asked for Emswiler’s resignation following a short Denison City Council meeting Thursday morning at which council members authorized City Attorney Rick Franck to bargain with the Denison Police Association to create a new certified officer in code enforcement. The Denison Police Association represents most non-management employees of the city.

Emswiler expressed interest in the new position, according to a city press release following the meeting.

Leinen said the City Council would have to decide whether Emswiler would be considered for the new position.

From The Omaha World-Herald