Town and Gown conference: Police present possibilities

James Heggen

The Ames and ISU Police share a lot.

Jerry Stewart, ISU director of public safety, and Chuck Cychosz, Ames police chief, gave a joint presentation Wednesday about the the collaboration between their two departments.

The session was part of the 5th Annual Best Practices in Building University/City Relations Conference held this year in Ames.

The conference is put on by the International Town and Gown Association, an organization of university cities for discussing issues unique to these types of cities.

The two discussed eight points of possible collaboration between city and university police, but focused mainly on its shared records system. The system is shared between the university, city and county authorities.

“What we wanted to avoid was slipping through the cracks,” Stewart said.

Both said there have been pros and cons to sharing records. For example, Stewart said with the system, they can check names of people in their custody against the database of Ames to see if he or she may have any prior offenses.

However, it can become difficult when ISU police have the obligation to report under the Cleary Act, which requires that colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs disclose crime information, while not wanting to compromise investigations.

“It can really get dicey,” he said.

But Cychosz said the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.