DES MOINES, IA — Eddie Mauro, former Democratic U.S. Senate Candidate and founding board member of No Justice No Peace PAC, is renewing calls for “independent citizen review boards” for police departments across the state and nationally.
“Recent police officer-involved shootings in Los Angeles and Washington D.C. continue to highlight how we need more civilian and citizen oversight of police departments across the country, and right here in Iowa,” Mauro said.
He continued, “We have the potential for similar events right here in Iowa. In Des Moines and Polk County, we’ve historically seen people of color under-represented in our police department and the Sherrif’s office. In Scott County, Linn County, and Blackhawk County, the racial inequities in arrest numbers and jail beds are pervasive. Independent citizens’ review can bring accountability and transparency to reviewing policing while increasing confidence in departments from the community. We can protect civil rights and public safety at the same time.”
In Iowa, the “Peace Officers Bill of Rights” and Chapter 20 of Iowa Code disciplinary processes for law enforcement. These rules are then enshrined in the collective bargaining agreements negotiated by elected officials with the union members. Some say these rules limit what local government can do in reaction to instances of potential police misconduct.
Rev. Rob Johnson, Director of Partnerships at No Justice No Peace, said, “Local elected officials are on notice. You signed these contracts with the unions representing law enforcement. You have the power to fix these disciplinary procedures. Let’s re-open these contracts, implement citizen review boards, and make this right. Now is the time to re-open these contracts in every jurisdiction in Iowa and nationally and fix disciplinary and transparency issues in our police departments everywhere.”