Officer attempts to change public perception of Iowa City police


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After starting his current job as public-relations crime-prevention officer for the Iowa City police three years ago, Jorey Bailey says he’s still hoping to accomplish his goal of changing the public’s perception of police.

“[I want to] address perception of the uniform, of the squad car,” he said. “The perception of [officers] just being out to enforce the law or arrest people and kind of work against that and put a smiling face with the uniform to make interactions for patrol officers out on the street a little easier and to try to build relationships within the community.”

Bailey, who has been with Iowa City police for almost 12 years, started his current job roughly three years ago as a “response to issues of youth violence and crime specifically on the Southeast Side of Iowa City.” The most rewarding part of his job, he said, is the ability to work so closely with the community.

“I get the opportunity to work on that sense of community,” he said. “[Help people in] understanding that the police are part of the community. I work for everybody, and not everybody has a good day every single day. Even those people who are having a bad day, I’m still working for them and showing them respect.”

Another rewarding part of his job, Bailey said, is looking back on a day and saying, “We did well.”

“I think any time you have the opportunity to respond to medical calls or you have the opportunity to help somebody, that’s the reward in this job,” he said. “Looking back at the end of the day and seeing that you’ve helped somebody with a problem, that’s what the job entails and what the rewards of the job are.”

Though he “kind of knew” since he was young that he would be in law enforcement, Bailey said if he weren’t an Iowa City officer, he would be doing something with his hands.

“Right now, I’m building [my family’s] second home,” the 33-year-old said. “It’s kind of a hobby for me. [If I weren’t an officer], I think being self-employed would probably be my ideal job in reference to something with my hands, something crafty, building houses. Maybe owning a farm — something like that would be fun for me.”

Bailey, who has a wife and two sons, ages 2 and 6, said the key to balancing a family life with a job in law enforcement is separation of roles.

“I think what’s key about balancing the two is separating work from family life,” he said. “It’s key to a healthy life outside of law enforcement — to shut things off when you leave and turn it back on when you’re back to work the next day.”

Several of Bailey’s peers said he is a great officer and coworker.

“He’s a very positive officer,” Sgt. Brian Krei said. “He’s a good conduit between the Police Department and the community itself. I like working with him. I don’t know if you can find a better person to do the job he’s assigned to do.”

Patrol Officer, Ronnie Gist, agreed.

“I think he takes the position seriously. He’s in a unique position to help residents to think of ways to prevent crimes before they ever happen,” he said.

Capt. Jim Steffen, who oversees the person who supervises Bailey, said he has heard nothing but good things.

“He’s a good contact person for people who have questions about the Police Department. He relates well to the public — it seems the people who come in contact with him feel very comfortable with him,” he said.

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