Dave MacDonald, a retired officer and detective from Waverly, IA came to the University of Northern Iowa to speak to students about his most memorable investigations, his career, and working with the media.
MacDonald served 33 1/2 years at the Bremer County Sheriff’s Office; his last twelve years he served as a detective. He was involved in many cases throughout his career. He went into detail about a robbery case involving cousins Jeremiah Mumford and William Clayton. This occurred in 2013, and the two men were accused of first-degree robbery and attempted murder, along with terrorism charges. They were captured at 6:30 in the evening by officers from the Waterloo Police Department. A million dollar bond was set on each of them, and they were sentenced to 75 years in prison. In the following clips, MacDonald explains what happened that day.
According to MacDonald, everyone who helped with the case worked together very well that day. “Not a single one said, ‘I’m too good to crawl around in the mud.’ They said ‘here’s what we got, what can we do.'” They even had help come in from Minnesota and the Nebraska FBI.
Along with that case, MacDonald was involved in many others. Here he explains some of them, along with his duties as a law enforcement officer and investigator.
MacDonald also discussed the relationship between media and law enforcement. He believes that it is a two-way street. The media trusts that whoever is being interviewed is telling the truth, but it is possible that he or she is not. The person being interviewed also has to trust that whatever he or she is saying will be portrayed the way it was intended, which does not always happen. MacDonald explained that sometimes, when being interviewed by the media, he cannot talk about certain issues because he hopes that the cases will eventually be prosecuted. “If I give information out that could damage that process, then I’ve failed in my mind,” he stated. The protection of case-related information is important, because if the information is to be put in front of a judge, it cannot be polluted by media if there is to be a fair outcome.
Today, Dave MacDonald, though retired, still works with defense attorneys on some cases. When asked what he regrets the most, he said that he wished he could have solved the cold cases. In closing, MacDonald gave advice that can help people better understand what it is like to work in law enforcement.
“The best thing that you could do to understand what people are talking about is to try and put yourself in their shoes. Literally go through a course and get a little taste of law enforcement training. Go out with officers on patrol. If you ever have the opportunity to put yourself in a shooting simulator, please put yourself in that position. Get an idea of what it’s like to work in that person’s position to know what it’s like to have that much time to make a decision.”