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The Iowa City Police Department connects with downtown

BY ABIGAIL MEIER | SEPTEMBER 05, 2013 5:00 AM

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Two recent hirings to the Iowa City police have found success in building a stronger chain of communication between the department and Iowa City citizens.

Department officials hired David Schwindt and assigned him as the downtown liaison officer in January in addition to hiring Derek Frank as the neighborhood response officer mid-June.

Schwindt said his position has allowed him to build a relationship between the department and Iowa City residents.

With a dedicated officer in the downtown area, businesses and people have a direct officer to contact with problems and concerns. While Frank’s job is in the beginning stages, he is dedicated to neighborhoods throughout Iowa City to help create neighborhood stabilization.  Frank will be able to address any issues that may interfere with the quality of life within the neighborhoods.

He works throughout Iowa City’s neighborhoods.  He meets with neighborhood associations and centers to discuss issues such as home and neighborhood safety, vandalism, thefts, or any other concerns the associations may have.

“I hope to improve the communication between neighborhoods and the Police Department,” he said. “I can now devote a little bit more time with citizens on their concerns.”

For Schwindt, spending a large amount of time downtown has created a stronger relationship with the everyday people who go to the Pedestrian Mall. 

Offenses such as smoking in the Pedestrian Mall often went unenforced as patrol officers were called to address other concerns.

Schwindt’s job is centralized in downtown and allows him to enforce these ordinances that were not consistently enforced before.  Schwindt said he was also able to address criminal and non- criminal issues like managing offensive language and violent behavior between others. 

“I can explain how other people can take offense to their words,” Schwindt said. “We want to create an environment where families and friends can come with their children and enjoy the area.”

The Community Oriented Policing Service, a part of the Department of Justice, funded the grant used to pay for these new positions. 

Downtown District officials participated in the hiring process, with two to three supervisors and the executive director of the Downtown District taking part in the interviews.

Bill Nusser, the president of the Downtown District, said the district requested higher authority within the downtown area to help better manage issues that officers on patrol would not be able to do. 

Nusser said that they wanted a position that could build positive relationships with people in centralized areas. 

Schwindt said these connections are well on their way.

“I’ve got to spend hours upon hours downtown,” Schwindt said. “And we have built that trust between the Police Department and people of downtown.”


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