Des Moines sergeant under investigation for ‘inappropriate’ remarks resigns from police force

Iowa News

DES MOINES, IOWA — A sergeant with the Des Moines Police Department resigned after coming under investigation for allegedly making an “inappropriate” comment to a fellow officer during a union meeting.

Sergeant Greg Wessels submitted his resignation this week following an incident at a Tuesday night police union meeting, according to Sergeant Paul Parizek with the Des Moines Police Department.

Parizek says Wessels made the comment – which he describes as “inappropriate and insensitive” – in front of fellow officers who immediately contacted command staff. An internal review was then launched, followed shortly by Wessels’ resignation.

Parizek would not offer details into what Wessels allegedly said. He says the investigation into the incident will continue even after Wessels’ resignation. “Our investigation is going to continue on because we need to get the answers to exactly what happened and be ready to answer the questions that are going to follow,” Parizek said.

Parizek praised fellow officers for doing the right thing and immediately reporting the incident.

“Gaining and maintaining the community’s trust is a high priority to us. This is the way it was supposed to work,” Parizek said, “Our employees recognized behavior that was inappropriate for the work place and words that could be hurtful. So they reported it right away, they jumped right on it.”

Wessels has a history of investigations for excessive use of force while on duty. The City of Des Moines paid $800,000 to settle a lawsuit tied to Wessels and another officer’s abuse of a suspect. Wessels was also caught on tape slamming a teenage girl to the ground during an altercation at the DART station in Des Moines in 2018.

Parizek hopes the whole community can agree with the actions taken by officers this week.

“This is exactly what our community wants us to do and our critics want us to do – and that is being responsive in the moment when we see things that aren’t right,” said Parizek.

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