Iowa City apartment complex contracting with police for extra patrol

Two shootings have occurred near complex this year

By Lee Hermiston, The Gazette

Following two shootings and assorted other issues, the management for an Iowa City apartment complex have opted to pay for extra police presence in their neighborhood.

Steve Finley, manager of the Pheasant Ridge Apartments on Bartelt Road, said he has contracted with the Iowa City Police Department to send an extra officer to the complex several nights a week. The arrangement began a couple weeks ago and will likely continue through the summer.

“We just decided that with the additional issues that were taking place that it would be best to hire additional services to make sure that we can keep everyone that lives here safe as possible,” Finley said.

Two shootings have occurred in the area of Bartelt Road in Iowa City so far this year.

Just before midnight on March 7, police responded to a report of shots fired in the 2600 block of Bartelt Road. More than a dozen shots were fired and one hit 19-year-old Denisha Davis. The injury has left her paralyzed from the knees down. Police responded to the Pheasant Ridge Apartments on April 20 for multiple reports of shots fired. No one was injured in that incident.

Iowa City police Capt. Jim Steffen said while the shootings have gained the most attention, the management at Pheasant Ridge wants police to address less visible, “quality of life” type issues such as loud music, trespassing and drug usage.

“The tenants are also experiencing day-to-day problems,” Steffen said. “They’ve brought their concerns to management ... The shootings are the most visible, but there are other issues.”

Under the arrangement, Iowa City will send one overtime officer to patrol the Pheasant Ridge complex seven hours a night for three to four nights per week. Pheasant Ridge will pay the city $64 per hour for the overtime officer. Iowa City officers can bid on the overtime opportunity and it’s possible the number of overtime officers at the complex could double, Steffen said.

The police department frequently provides officers to businesses, schools and other organizations, though Steffen said the extent of this arrangement is a bit unusual. The city has provided overtime officers for high school sporting events, a local grocery store experiencing issues with thefts and construction companies seeking extra security for a job site.

Though the arrangement is relatively new, Finley said the feedback has already come in from tenants.

“They see a greater presence of the police and they feel more comfortable,” he said. “I think that anytime you can eliminate a negative influence is good for pretty much any area of the city.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8238; lee.hermiston@sourcemedia.net

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