It may be good for the City of Des Moines to have a policy that, “…requires all city employees to perform their duties without regard to race, ethnicity, gender or other characteristics…”, but that does not replace the need for a anti-racial-profiling policy specifically for the Des Moines Police Department.
For better or for worse, conscious and unconscious bias exist in most human beings. It is in our nature to look for norms, patterns, averages, etc., and to apply what we think we know to our everyday situations. But police officers are rightfully placed in a very special position: we allow them the legal use of force. So, police officers especially need to make sure they treat each person as an individual, presumed innocent, following due process procedures.
In this case, the City of Des Moines should give the Des Moines Police Department clear policy regarding what police officers can and cannot do as it relates of acting on their “feelings” or “hunches” in any given situation. Profiling or pretextual stops based on race should be prohibited. Suggestions by Iowa CCI, the ACLU of Iowa, and the NAACP should be given serious consideration as part of developing the policy.
Link to related articles in The Des Moines Register:
Recently, the D.M. City Council approved $3 million in federal flood disaster relief funding subsidy for the $3.9 million Franklin Field Senior Apartments project. Since there was no flooding in the area, I assume we must just want more taxpayer subsidized housing. In this case, the owners risk $0.9 million and taxpayers give away $3 million. This will build 30 units at $129,000 each. “Of the 30 units, 66% will be designated for households under 80% of median income and will charge approximately $580 for a one bedroom apartment.” After 10 years of compliance with the subsidized housing regulations, the $3 million loan will be forgiven. After that, I presume they can charge whatever rent they want. The owners will have a $3.9 million dollar property at a cost of only $0.9 million. I understand the good intentions of making low cost housing available to needy seniors, but I disagree that taxpayers should be forced to pay for this kind of thing. This is something that should be handled locally. If there is a real need, and if people want to contribute to this kind of project, then private charity should be able to add whatever support is needed.