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Iowa City releases plan to restructure police towards community policing model

Published: Dec. 16, 2020 at 4:27 PM CST
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Iowa City released its preliminary plan to restructure its police department on Tuesday.

The City Council agreed to make changes the police department after this summer’s protests against police brutality and racial inequities.

The 250-page plan unveiled focuses more on a community policing model, which includes officers carrying Narcan to respond to overdoses, and requiring officers to do community service work.

The document also includes a statistical overview of the Iowa City Police Department, background on recent community policing initiatives, and 36 recommendations to address public health, community safety, and systemic racism in Iowa City.

The 36 recommendations reflect three areas of focus: 1) a continuum of responses to crisis calls for service including prevention, diversion, co-response, and stabilization and referrals; 2) a commitment to unbiased policing; and 3) an effort to use unconventional and innovative solutions for common problems.

Other ideas included banning traffic stops for low level violations like jaywalking. Another focus is on more training with groups like the NAACP.

“The community can describe lived experiences and facilitate open, respectful dialogue with officers in a way that builds on understanding, humanizes issues, and quickly influences change,” said, about the plan.

Iowa City is looking for feedback on the plan. Mayor Bruce Teague said council members will discuss the recommendations at its next meeting in January.

The full preliminary plan is available on the City’s website at www.icgov.org/preliminaryplan.

The preliminary plan comes after City Council adopted a 17-point resolution to address the Black Lives Matter movement and systemic racism in June 2020.

The community is encouraged to provide additional input on the preliminary plan, to be incorporated into the final plan. Residents can take a survey on the recommendations online or e-mail suggestions to PolicePlan@iowa-city.org.

The public can view progress on other commitments and the full resolution at www.icgov.org/blm.

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