- Associated Press - Friday, December 2, 2016

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa State Patrol leader in northern Iowa is out of his job weeks after a state agency said he failed to pay child support for years to a former police dispatcher with whom he has a daughter.

Public records show that Lt. Kelly Hindman’s failure to support the girl, now 7, continued even as his state salary reached six figures and her mother struggled financially. The mother, Susan F. Huss, had been forced out of her law enforcement job and prosecuted for embezzling money that went toward family expenses.

Hours after The Associated Press inquired about Hindman’s child support matter, the Iowa Department of Public Safety said that Hindman left employment Thursday after a 28-year career. Hindman, commander of the patrol’s district headquarters in Fort Dodge, had been on paid administrative leave since Oct. 26. Department spokesman Alex Murphy declined comment on Hindman’s departure, calling it a confidential personnel matter.

Court filings show that in September, the state’s Child Support Recovery Unit found Hindman had fallen far behind on his monthly legal obligations to Huss. The unit obtained a court order requiring the state to withhold income from Hindman’s paycheck to cover his debts. In October, Hindman paid Huss $47,790 to satisfy overdue obligations - about 4½ years of payments. The order to withhold his wages was terminated.

Hindman had been the patrol’s district commander since 2007, managing road troopers who patrol seven counties in northern Iowa. He drew unwanted publicity and a disciplinary investigation in January 2015, when he joked on Facebook that he wanted a sniper to shoot ESPN college basketball announcer Dan Dakich in the head. Hindman was allowed to keep his supervisory position.

Hindman and his attorney, Stephen Kersten, didn’t return phone and social media messages seeking comment.

Hindman is married to another woman and has older children. Huss, 45, was a dispatch supervisor at the Webster County law enforcement telecommunications center in Fort Dodge. She gave birth to a girl in April 2009, when she was married to another man. It took three years for Hindman to acknowledge in court that he was the father following a paternity dispute.

As part of that stipulation in 2012, Hindman was required to pay $885 per month to support the child and to provide health insurance for her until she turns 18. The amount that Hindman paid in October shows that he had paid virtually no support for the child - even as Huss has struggled with financial problems.

An investigation that the state auditor’s office conducted in 2011 found Huss embezzled thousands of dollars by depositing checks and cash intended for the dispatch center into her personal bank account. She admitted to the theft and to using her government debit card for personal purchases, including an infant toilet seat in 2010, Christmas stockings and gifts, food, gas and household items.

Huss pleaded guilty in 2012 to second-degree theft and felony misconduct in office. A judge sentenced her to two years of probation and ordered her to pay $11,326 in restitution. A phone number for Huss was disconnected, and attempts to reach her through social media also were not successful.

It’s not clear whether failing to pay child support would jeopardize an Iowa law enforcement officer’s certification. The minimum standards include having “good moral character,” which typically revolves around the person’s criminal history.

After his Facebook post about Dakich, the department didn’t cut Hindman’s salary, which went up to $100,000 a year. With Hindman gone, the department has assigned Lt. Rob Hansen to fill in as district commander.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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