WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- The city of West Des Moines is speaking out for the first time after the police chief stepped down.
Police Chief Shaun LaDue has been forced to resign at the request of city leaders. The move comes amid lawsuits from three police employees. They claim they were sexually harassed and passed over for promotions because they were women.
The city manager said he was the one that asked LaDue to step down.
"An effective leader has a clear vision, the ability to connect and build trust and the confidence of those he leads," said City Manager Tom Hadden. "Chief LaDue had a clear vision and made some significant changes with the West Des Moines Police Department during his four-year tenure. Unfortunately, his inability to connect and build trust and gain the confidence of his fellow officers led to my decision to ask for his resignation."
Hadden said that the city did look into discrimination charges against the chief but did not find any wrongdoing. The last of the three lawsuits was settled last week. Hadden said it will pay out nearly $2 million in the settlement and that will be paid out by the insurance company -- not the taxpayers.
Hadden also said he was already considering asking LaDue to step down before the lawsuits.
Jim Barrett will take over as interim chief. He said that he wants to continue to protect the people of West Des Moines.
"The people that live, work in, and visit the city see no difference in the service and no difference in the way we deliver that service," said Barrett. "It's important that we keep working hard, we keep doing the right thing, and we enjoy coming to work because a cop's job is tough but it's a great job. I want people to come to work ready to go. I think the citizens and employees deserve that."
The search for a new chief is underway. The city manager says it could take six to nine months to find a replacement. He says they will gather input from officers in the department and members of the community.