Sunday, July 23, 2006

Riding Along with the DPD

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to ride along with a DPD patrol from 6-11 pm Saturday. I would like to thank Chief Bladel for extending the invitation and I would like to thank Officer Harris for allowing me to ride along in his squad car.

The patrol beat, last night, had nine cars in the city; eight on assigned beats and one that had more of a "roaming capacity." Officer Harris had the roaming assignment. According to those I spoke with last night was relatively quite (for a July Saturday night), probably due to the storms that passed through and the unseasonably cool weather we had. Nevertheless the officers were busy in all corners of the city.

Most of what we encountered was fairly routine: disorderly folks at a convenience store, a false 911 call, fender bender, a couple neighborhood disturbances, trespassing in a announcer's box at a ball field, and a search for a man that has a warrant for his arrest (stayed in the car for that one). All accounts were handled professionally and efficiently once on the scene. Obviously there is a reason the department is accredited (the Quad Cities’ first and Iowa’s largest law enforcement agency to become accredited) -- they do a great job with what they have to work with.

It is interesting to note, although not surprising, that the majority (well over 50%) of the calls seem to be associated with rental properties; despite the fact that they only make up less than 1/4 of our cumulative population.

It is easy to see how they can become spread thin at times. The search for the warranted individual required three cars and another time (we did not respond to this), during the night, three or so cars responded to a foot chase on Elmore for a shoplifting suspect. Once these situations occur, far fewer cars are on patrol and response times can slow. I know when we started out at 6 pm, Officer Harris had three calls to attend to (all lower priorities), but it is hard to be three places at once and it takes time.

The technology with the computers in the cars is impressive, from the video/audio taping capabilities, to the beat breakdown and instant messaging systems in the computer -- great tools for the officers. The new police station will help make things more efficient and effective and new patrols cars are slated for FY-07.

I do know we have come and will continue to come to crossroads with our budgeting processes. Funding for public safety is expensive and to deliver these high levels of service costs a lot of money. We can take steps (i.e. consolidated dispatch) to free up more dollars and become more efficient, but to put more officers on the street we will have to work hard to make this come into place. It is a delicate balance offering high levels of city services and reasonable tax structures. Hopefully, in future budgets we will be able to help bring more folks on board -- perhaps keying in on NETS, which helps take care of problems more at the ground level in a proactive manner.

I guess I wasn't surprised at the outcome of my ride along, it lined up pretty well with what I have heard from our Chief and Union Board. But, it was nice to see things first hand. Thanks again to DPD.

To learn more about DPD click here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Open Thread

Feel free to log in on any topic through this open thread. The following topics seem to be some of the key issues, as of late:

- 65TH/67TH ST.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

65th/67th St. Expansion

Discussions have been in the works and proposals have been brought forward for the Eastward expansion of 65th/67th St. during the past few months.

The idea is to expand 65th/67th St. from Brady, North of Prairie Hts., Past Jersey Ridge, Past Elmore, over I-74, to Utica Ridge, and onto a connection with Forest Grove at the Davenport/Bettendorf city limit.

The main three proposals, by the development company, take Northern routes through some farms (North of Crow Valley neighborhoods) and over to Bettendorf. A fourth option would be to connect to Utica Ridge (following the current road configuration) and not to connect to Forest Grove. A fifth option would be to do nothing.

I think it is important to spur development on North Brady by expanding eastward. I am undecided about the final leg: terminate 65th/67th at the Utica Ridge connection or take one of the Northern routes to Forest Grove. I am afraid of creating an "expressway" out of town and creating more sprawl versus an enhanced road with primary use for Davenporters. Both could spur residential and commercial development. The "expressway" route might lead to larger commercial developments, while the other might cater more toward smaller developments.

What are your thoughts? Pros/cons? Feel free to log in, thanks - Ian

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Open City Meeting Review, Duck Creek Lodge, 6/27

I would like to thank all who attended the Open/City Meeting I hosted at the Duck Creek Lodge June 27th. We had a productive meeting with good levels of participation, some great comments, and some great suggestions. Open lines of communication strengthen the bond between elected officials and citizens. I hope to continue hosting and/or participating in meetings such as this.

I would also like to thank some folks from the City who attended: Craig Malin, City Administrator; Cindy Webb, City Council Assistant; Jamie Howard, At Large Alderman; and Barney Barnhill, 7th Ward Alderman; along with Officer Jacobsen and Sgt. Goodin from the Davenport Police Department.

Complete Notes from Meeting: