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Iowa City community talks about mental health and community policing

Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 11:41 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Iowa City is working to develop community policing. The city is holding a series of listening posts to get feed back on how to make this happen. Wednesday night’s focused on the topics of mental health, crisis intervention and addiction.

Some of the speakers talked about getting into neighborhoods and making sure people in need know about the services that are available. The city council said it heard plenty of great ideas and some that they had already been talking about. They also discussed alternatives to calling 911 for mental health and diverting people away from jail, saying police are not the best equipped to handle mental health crises.

“The idea of a mental health counselor or social worker going out alongside a law enforcement officer, that is one model. And as for the feasibility, I think it’s, you know, we can find ways to make that work absolutely,” Laura Bergus, city council member in Iowa City, said.

This is the first of six listening posts. The city council said it is committed to having a preliminary plan for restructuring the Iowa City Police Department by December 15.

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