Attorney of Urbandale Sergeant Hopes Lawsuit Against Department Will Change Culture Behind The Badge

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URBANDALE, Iowa — It’s been over two years since officer Justin Martin was shot and killed in Urbandale at 70th and Aurora.  The intersection seems undisturbed today with the exception of memorial flowers but according to a lawsuit filed by Urbandale Sergeant Mark Jorgensen against his own department, it’s an intersection he became “Plagued with severe nightmares and images of the murder scene that he could not erase from his mind.”  Jorgensen’s attorney, David Albrecht said, “Sergeant Jorgensen’s PTSD is certainly something that affects him in his daily life.  It affects his ability to sleep and deal with issues.”

Jorgensen was first on the scene to find officer martin dead.  Jorgensen claims he dealt with  harassment and discrimination, claiming his then Chief of Police Ross McCarty failed to provide any resources to officers who were having difficulty coping with the shootings.  Albrecht said, “In the public we expect the police officers to be there when we need them but sometimes they are the ones that need a hand.”

Albrecht says Jorgensen also suffers from a sleep disorder and working the overnight shift not only made it difficult to sleep during day-time hours, he claims it caused his Crohn’s disease to return after nine years of remission.  The petition claims despite knowing how the late night shifts affected Jorgenson, Chief McCarty periodically assigned him to work the overnight shift.  “Sergeant Jorgensen had requested to not work the overnight shifts when his Crohn’s was acting up because of that shift work sleep disorder,” said Albrecht.

Sergeant Jorgensen feels he is not breaking away from the police brotherhood by filing the lawsuit, he claims it has the potential to create an even stronger thin blue line for everyone.  Albrecht said, “His actions do back the blue.  Part of respecting the men and women in uniform is to recognize they might need help and to fight that stigma that when they do need assistance based on something that happened, sometimes it can be difficult to reach out.  He hopes that his actions will help officers in the future.”

Jorgensen remains on active duty.  The department has twenty days to file their response.  The department was unavailable for comment.


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