Outgoing Iowa City Manager Suggests Consolidating Area Police Forces

Iowa City City Manager Tom Markus (Brian Ray/The Gazette-KCRG)
Iowa City City Manager Tom Markus (Brian Ray/The Gazette-KCRG)(KCRG)
Published: Mar. 11, 2016 at 11:25 AM CST
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Outgoing Iowa City Manager Tom Markus thinks law enforcement agencies in Johnson County should look to consolidate their efforts and resources.

"Currently, there are at least seven different police agencies providing service to the greater Iowa City metropolitan area which serves a population of approximately 110,000, when counting the five contiguous cities," Markus wrote to the city council in a memo earlier this month. "There are many cities of our size and greater that have one department serving the same population. I would recommend that the local agencies including the University of Iowa consider consolidating into a metro area police department."

Markus is leaving for the same job in Lawrence, Kansas later this month. The suggestion was part of a memo to the council titled "Manager Final Thoughts and Comments Regarding Continuing Issues and Suggested Courses of Action For council Consideration."

Markus said the county sheriff should continue to operate the jail and patrol rural areas in Johnson County.

"Some advantages may include: the standardization of rules, regulations, policies, and enforcement; reduced administrative overhead; better communication within the larger department than exists across multiple jurisdictions; opportunity for specialized services; and better services and reduced costs," Markus wrote.

Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek said via email Friday that he has heard the idea kicked around before, and such an effort would be difficult to put into practice.

In his memo Markus also weighed in on tax increment financing, affordable housing, fire service, and finance issues.