Public Safety

City Council approves hiring of Iowa City police chief

Lieutenant Dustin Liston (center) of the El Paso, Tex. Police Department speaks with Aleksey Gurtovoy and Martha Hampel
Lieutenant Dustin Liston (center) of the El Paso, Tex. Police Department speaks with Aleksey Gurtovoy and Martha Hampel of Iowa City during a meet and great with the three finalists for Police Chief in Iowa City on Monday, August 24, 2020. (Nick Rohlman/Freelance) Gurtovoy and Hampel are members of ICPD Watch, a local organization working towards police accountability.

IOWA CITY — In the coming months, the Iowa City Council will develop plans to restructure the police department.

On Tuesday, it approved the hiring of the man who will lead that department.

During its formal meeting, the Iowa City Council unanimously approved City Manager Geoff Fruin’s recommendation to hire El Paso (Texas) Police Lt. Dustin Liston as chief.

“I am 100 percent supporting Dustin Liston as police chief,” said Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague.

In response to demands from Black Lives Matter protesters, the City Council in June vowed to restructure the police department toward a community policing model. A plan for that restructuring is to be proposed before the end of the year.

Council member Laura Bergus said she met with Liston and was impressed by his understanding of where Iowa City was as a community following a summer of civil unrest. She said Liston “gets” where the city is and where it’s heading.

“I think he’s coming in at a very good moment with eyes wide open,” Bergus said.

Fruin has credited Liston’s experience working with a diverse population in a college community, working with policing programs and his willingness to lead the department through a period of change.

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Liston is an Eldora native, University of Iowa graduate and former Iowa City police intern. His hiring will be effective Jan. 11, 2021.

He succeeds Jody Matherly, who retired.

Comments: (319) 339-3155; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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