Iowa law enforcement officers are echoing comments made by Dallas Police Chief David Brown after last week’s shootings, saying, “Send us your applicants.”
Departments across the state have been actively trying to diversify their forces by reaching out to minority communities in the state, but they aren’t getting applications. Daniel Trelka is Chief of the Waterloo Police Department.
“Five years ago, we’d have two positions, we’d have 200-300 applicants. I think the last time, we had 80 people apply, and we asked them to show up for a physical fitness test. Forty people showed up. So, you know it’s a job that a lot of people are looking at and they are saying, gosh, I don’t want to put up with all that grief. I don’t want it," he says.
During this River to River conversation, Trelka talks with host Ben Kieffer. John Godar, President of the Iowa State Sheriffs and Deputities Association, and Betty Andrews, President of the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP also join the conversation.
Andrews says she hopes the two shootings last week, of black men by police and the shootings in Dallas, will spur action from lawmakers around the country and in Iowa.
"There are some actions that need to take place. For instance, racial profiling laws. For instance, having an agency with consistent accountability to which law enforcement agencies can have consistent accountabilities. For instance, just continuing to build that community/police trust relationship," Andrews says.
During the 2016 legislative session, Iowa lawmakers did not pass a bill that would ensure law enforcement do not racially profile Iowans. Andrews says she plans to push that issue again this year.