Des Moines City Council to consider several police-related funding items in Monday night's consent agenda
The Des Moines City Council will vote Monday night on whether to approve various funding initiatives for the Des Moines Police Department. Each of them, being on the consent agenda, are up for approval all at once.
The city council has faced backlash at previous meetings for including police department items on the consent agenda, which is supposed to be for a "routine item" that are not considered controversial.
At the last two in-person city council meetings, several residents and community organizers requested items relating to police department funding to be removed from the consent agenda and be considered separately.
On both occasions, the city council denied those requests, voting to approve such items as a contract to train Des Moines police officers in de-escalation tactics and nearly $11,000 for Des Moines police officer Chad Steffen to attend a 20-day training session at the Senior Management Institute for Police in Orlando, Florida.
At Monday night's meeting, the city council will consider approving, through its consent agenda, a new citywide parking meter system and six police-related action items.
The new parking meter system would cover all 3,492 metered on-street parking spots in the city, replacing existing individual meter heads with about 400 multi-space meter pay stations — one for each city block where metered parking is available, according to city documents.
Here's what those six police-related agenda items are for:
Approval for grant application to fund de-escalation training
On June 28, the city council approved a $148,000 contract to train Des Moines police officers in de-escalation tactics. On Monday night, the council will vote on whether to allow the police department to apply for the Community Policing Development Training Grant to cover the costs of the de-escalation training.
The training will take place in three sessions in Des Moines during the weeks of Aug. 23, Sept. 27 and Oct. 4. Sgt. Paul Parizek, the department's spokesman, previously told the Register the training would be conducted over three weeks to make sure all sworn officers are able to rotate through the training.
Approval for grant application to fund equipment needs beyond annual budget
In conjunction with the Polk County Sheriff's office the Des Moines Police Department is asking permission to submit its annual application for the Edward Byrne Memorial JAG. Funding through this grant is meant to help law enforcement agencies purchase equipment that are beyond its annual budget.
Together the law enforcement agencies are applying for $169,638 in grant money, $14,450 would go to Polk County and the rest to the Des Moines Police Department.
According to city documents, the money would be used to purchase new ballistic vests, special equipment for canine vehicles, software to enhance forensic data collection, replacement audio/visual phones for hostage negotiation and cameras for violent crime detections for Des Moines police.
Polk County is requesting radar equipment for marked vehicles.
Last year the department asked for funds for the purchase of upgraded body-worn cameras with improved battery operations, encryption and data storage capabilities for the City of Des Moines as well as law enforcement equipment for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Requesting acceptance for grant related to Project Safe Neighborhoods
The Des Moines Police Department has been a recipient of the Project Safe Neighborhood grant since 2019. The grant, which is through the governor's office of Drug Control Policy, reimburses law enforcement overtime associated with mid to high-level narcotics investigations.
According to city documents, the grant period had been extended until the end of June and, if approved, the police department will be able to accept the extension valued at $67,708.
Purchase of replacement vehicles
The city council will also be voting on whether to approve the purchase of 21 replacement vehicles for the fire, police and public works department.
Out of the 21 vehicles, 14 of them are earmarked for the police department as replacements for patrol and pursuit SUVs. The cost associated to purchase all 21 vehicles is $681,317.
Accepting proposal for best practices relating to data collection
The council will consider a vote to hire Public Works LLC to identify best practices for research and data collection for city ordinance enforcement and law enforcement. If approved, the analysis will cost the city $84,925.
In March 2020, the council directed city manager Scott Sanders to implement implicit bias, de-escalation and cultural competency training across Des Moines city government. In addition, Sanders was directed to develop a request for proposals that would determine the best way for Des Moines police to collect enforcement data.
The data would then be reviewed by the council, Sanders and the Policy and Practice Review Committee, made up of city staff and three members of the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission, to identify any demographic trends.
Approving the contract with Public Works LLC is one of the first steps in identifying how the city can collect that law enforcement data.
Approval for software update for police and fire computer-aided dispatch
The police and fire department are looking for the approval of about $365,000 to update its software licensing, maintenance and support services for its computer-aided dispatch. A computer-aided dispatch helps dispatch transit or emergency services vehicles.
According to city documents, consistent monitoring and upgrading of the system helps emergency response meet the demands of public safety.