Help Ban Racial Profiling in Des Moines

An update from First Unitarian member Harvey Harrison:
On Monday night, November 19, the Des Moines City Council passed a motion instructing the Des Moines city manager to review the request being made by Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) and to return to the Council, no later than the end of January or early February, recommendations regarding the adoption of an ordinance to ban racial profiling in Des Moines. I was one of the speakers at that meeting outlining the specifics of the request being made by CCI. The request contains the following 6 elements to be contained in a comprehensive ordinance:
  • Ban racial profiling;
  • Ban pre-textual stops;
  • Mandate comprehensive data collection and disclosure on all police “stops”;
  • Create a Citizen’s Review Board;
  • Provide annual training for all officers on Implicit Bias and De-escalation;
  • Make possession of marijuana a lowest law enforcement priority.
There is a great deal of work to be done to support this recommendation. The work will include:
  • Research on the various aspects of the ordinance;
  • The preparation of materials to be distributed concerning the ordinance;
  • Educational and lobbying efforts with members of the city Council;
  • Sitting down at CCI and assisting with mailing and phone bank efforts;
  • Reaching out to Des Moines leadership and encouraging them to publicly support this request;
  • Things that I am not thinking about at the moment.
If you’re interested in assisting with this work please contact me by email at harvey@dwx.com.
The work is rewarding and represents a real possibility of being a part of making positive systemic changes in policing practices in Des Moines.