Ames City Council to reassess policing efforts in Ames


Ames City Council conducting business Jan. 14, 2020.

Madison Rapp

Ames City Council will discuss finalizing decisions on improving policing efforts in Ames, among other topics that will be discussed during the meeting.

On Sept. 29, the Path Forward report was made public to the council. The report contains 21 recommendations to address concerns that were made.

Ames City Council requested the city manager compile all the correspondence received, put the information into common themes and provide recommendations on how to address each individual theme, according to the memo

This specific report is built to deal with each theme separately. Each is highlighted into three different categories: what has been suggested, what the city is currently doing in regard to each theme and the city manager’s recommendations to address each theme.

The themes include:

  • Organizational culture

  • Police officer recruitment and selection process

  • Police officer training/education

  • Departmental policies

  • City ordinances and state law

  • Transparency

  • Accountability in complaint handling and discipline

  • Communication

  • Funding

“Many individuals who provided input wanted to ensure that there is not a culture of racial bias embedded in the Ames Police Department,” City Manager Steve Schainker said in the memo.

Ames Black Lives Matter released a list of demands for changes in the local law enforcement in a past Ames City Council meeting.

The two goals of the Path Forward report are to provide exceptional service at the best price to all of our customers — visitors, residents, business owners — and provide an enjoyable and stimulating work environment for all those who work for the city of Ames.

The report explains how the city is currently approaching each theme and what the city manager is recommending to the City Council.

A few of the recommendations stated in the memo are:

  • The values that drive our Excellence Through People initiative will be revised to include new values of diversity, equity and inclusion.

  • The human resources staff will explore additional validated evaluation tools to use in the police officer selection process to help decide whether candidates have a propensity to inappropriately act upon bias.

  • An independent review of the police department policies will be undertaken by a citizen committee.

  • Adopt an ordinance prohibiting any member of the city of Ames organization from racial profiling or taking actions that are indicative of bias in the delivery of city services.

“The city manager understands the city of Ames is not perfect and believes that if there are isolated experiences of inappropriate behavior, they are not the result of a culture of bias embedded within the city or police department specifically,” the memo said.

The City Council has three options, according to the city manager’s report. The council can either take no action, extend the expiration date of the ordinance or repeal the sunset clause.

Repealing the sunset clause will result in the face covering ordinance to remain in effect until the council takes further action.

The Ames City Council meeting will take place 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The meeting can be viewed online from the Channel 12 YouTube page or the City of Ames website