University Heights police chief fired ‘without cause and for no specific reason’

Photo by Matty Ring via Flickr.

University Heights Police Chief Kristopher Lyon was fired last week, KCRG reported on Monday. Mayor Louise From told the station the city council had fired Lyon “without cause and for no specific reason as of March 6, 2018.”

Lyon was placed on administrative leave in January. City officials have declined to explain the reason for the leave, saying it was a personnel matter. There is an exemption in the state’s open records law for personnel matters in order to protect the privacy of government employees.

Lyon was appointed interim police chief in Feb. 2017 following the retirement of the previous chief. He served in that interim capacity until Aug. 8, when the city council appointed him chief.

In October, University Heights paid $50,000 to settle a wrongful termination lawsuit brought a former police officer Lyon had fired five months earlier.

In a March 2017 online advertisement for a police chief, University Heights described itself as city of 1,000 residents with a police force of five fulltime and 10 reserves officers.

“The department is heavily focused on traffic enforcement including speed and traffic control device enforcement as well as registration and licensing enforcement,” the ad said. It also noted that due to the city’s proximity to the University of Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium, “all members of the department are on duty throughout each game day for extended shifts, and foot and bicycle patrol is heavily utilized.”

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