Apr 11, 2022 - News

Des Moines considers hiring third-party consultant to examine police

Des Moines Police Department

The front of the Des Moines Police Department. Photo by: Jason Clayworth

The City of Des Moines is considering hiring a third-party consultant to analyze the policies and trainings in place at the Des Moines Police Department, Mayor Frank Cownie said.

  • The goal of the review is to get DMPD nationally accredited — a process that assesses the local agency's operations based on nationally recognized best practices.

Why it matters: The city says the process can improve police accountability.

  • Plus: The set of accreditation guidelines is also written to bolster the department's defense against civil lawsuits.

The big picture: Since 2020, DMPD has faced several accusations of using excessive force against residents, including during Black Lives Matter protests.

  • And internally, the department is being sued by four female employees who allege they were sexually harassed by the former president of the police union. They say he retired with benefits and didn't face any disciplinary action.

What they're saying: Cownie said during Iowa Press Friday that the accreditation would make sure the police department is at the top of national standards.

The other side: Organizers from Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement say the city should focus on the law enforcement agency's alleged use of excessive force instead.

  • "We want a third-party investigation into the wrongful acts of the Des Moines Police Department," Lori Young, of Iowa CCI, told KCCI.

Cownie said the number of excessive force complaints are "insignificant" when compared to the total call volume the police department receives, on Iowa Press.

  • But he said they should still be addressed, whether it's through training or new policies.

What's next: A council work session on the matter will be held within the next month.

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