Jan 26, 2023 - News

Police's return to DSM school patrol is brief

Illustration of a police uniform standing with no person inside it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Police returned to help monitor most of Des Moines' high schools earlier this week due to concerns about possible gang retaliation following a shooting Monday that left two teenagers dead, Police Sgt. Paul Parizek tells Axios.

  • That resulted in a quick, no-injury response to a separate incident Tuesday when a student brought a gun into East High School, he says.

Yes, but: The extra monitoring was provided at the district's request and is completed, with no plans to resume in-school patrols, per Parizek.

Catch up fast: The Monday shooting occurred downtown at "Starts Right Here," an education and monitoring program for at-risk youth that is separate from, but works closely with, the district.

  • Rashad Carr, 16, and Gionni Dameron, 18, were killed.
  • Will Keeps, the group's founder, was shot during the incident and remains hospitalized, per police.

Flashback: DMPS terminated its 22-year-old school resource officer (SRO) program in 2021 due to concerns about how police presence in schools fuel arrest rates and disproportionally affect students of color.

What they're saying: Police were present at high schools this week out of an abundance of caution, district spokesperson Amanda Lewis tells Axios.

  • She declined to discuss possible future police presence, saying the details could compromise student and staff safety.

Of note: Preston Walls, 18, the alleged shooter, is charged with murder and remains in the Polk County Jail on a $2.5 million bond.

  • A handgun with the capacity to shoot 31 rounds was confiscated near a vehicle where Walls was apprehended shortly after the shooting, police said.

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