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Committee talks changes for county

BY BENJAMIN TOWAR | FEBRUARY 05, 2015 5:00 AM

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Courthouse security was once again on the minds of the members of the Johnson County Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee when they met Wednesday.

The committee consists of several representatives from Iowa City, North Liberty, and Coralville.

The first portion of the committee’s meeting addressed plans to update security for the Johnson County Courthouse, as requested by the courthouse staff.

The safety concern for the courthouse is not without merit, Johnson County Supervisor Rod Sullivan said.

In the past few years, he said, the Linn County Courthouse has confiscated more than 2,000 weapons from people entering the courthouse. That alone, Sullivan said, was reason to raise courthouse security in Johnson County.

Suggestions for increasing security included the assignment of more deputies, larger metal detectors, cameras, and key-card locks for access to judges’ quarters.

Following the security discussion, the committee then turned to funding the study proposed by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. The council wants to establish a review of adult criminal activity in Johnson County to see trends regarding minority contact.

The study is intended to analyze the relation between race and the use of marijuana and disorderly conduct in the county.

“Statistics show that we have more contact with minorities, and there are instances of more of them being arrested, so it’s a study not being not just for the area but it’s being done nationally,” Supervisor Pat Harney said.

After a period of discussion, the committee decided to draft a letter to the council, declaring its intent to submit $30,000 to fund the study. The study has the possibility of being conducted this year, prior to July 1.

The money for the study will come from the committee’s budget.

Reorganization of the committee was also discussed, placing more emphasis on subcommittees to uphold the bulk of the main committee’s projects. Should the shifting of offices prove successful, the meetings could be rescheduled from every month to every other month.

The Johnson County Regional Crisis team, which was formed Feb. 1 and had its first call on Tuesday, was also discussed at the meeting.

The team is purposed to respond to calls involving self-harm in the county.

“We’ve been having meetings with the law enforcement, so it’s on their radar,” said Jessica Peckover, the jail-alternatives coordinator for the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.


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