Values to seek in new Iowa City police chief

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Charlie Eastham, guest columnist

Iowa City is in the process of hiring a new chief of police and has encouraged the community to provide input throughout the search process.

The Coalition for Racial Justice submitted the following values to be included in the recruitment profile for a new chief of police. Several of our priorities are reflected in the final Recruitment Profile posted on the Iowa City website.

We thank everyone who was involved in developing these values and for helping shape our community’s expectations for our new police chief.

To find out more about how you can participate in the hiring process, contact us or check out the city website. We encourage community members to stay informed and involved in this process.

The Coalition for Racial Justice wants a police chief who:

• Is committed to eliminating disproportionate minority contact with the police department.

• Supports community outreach as a key responsibility of the police department and who will commit significant staffing for outreach.

• Values having a truly independent community police review board with the ability to conduct independent investigations and evaluations.

• Is willing to dismiss racist police officers.

• Sees the police department as a partner with the broader community to promote respectful, safe, and inclusive practices across the board.

• Can help to mend relations between the police department and the neighborhoods it serves, as well as to support the work of its officers and other staff to understand the roles that implicit and explicit bias and cultural competency play in policing.

• Not only is respectful of community protest but sees protest both as an exercise in democracy that should be protected and as a form of feedback to governments in general and police departments specifically.

• Values and has experience recruiting and developing a diverse workforce within the Police Department that is reflective of the community it serves.

• Is flexible and takes an open-minded problem solving approach to resolving differences between opposing viewpoints.

• Values, understands, and is committed to fair and adequate relationships with immigrants — especially undocumented immigrants, who will direct officers to recognize community IDs, and who will ensure appropriate language interpretation is consistently provided.

• Is willing to get to know diverse people in the community and who values our differences.

• Is interested and trained in working with youth effectively, meaning a chief who is able to develop respectful relationships with our youth.

• Values moving the police department away from police tactics that came from the War on Drugs, particularly those that target people of color.

• Is willing to exert influence to change the way officers are trained at the Police Academy.

• Charlie Eastham has been a member of the Coalition for Racial Justice since its creation in 2012 and actively supports the coalition’s mission of promoting racial justice through action, education and empowerment. Comments:

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