Ames Police respond to Resident Satisfaction Survey

The city of Ames’ Residential Satisfaction Report for 2022 reports that 54% of Ames residents thought sex-related crime investigations should be the highest priority for Ames Police.

The report asked respondents to rank what issues they believe police should put “more emphasis on.” Sex-related crimes refer to crimes such as sexual assault and rape.

Ames Police Cmdr. Daniel Walter said sex-related crimes are already a high priority for the police.

“Hearing that makes you want to continue to focus on [sex-related crimes], but it’s been a priority — [still] is a priority — for us to make sure that we investigate fully whenever these crimes come in and throw every available resource at them,” said Ames Police Commander Daniel Walter.

Ames resident Bauyrzhan Yedilbayev said he isn’t sure if sex-related crimes need more attention.

“I watch the news, and I don’t hear much about these things,” Yedilbayev said. “Ames is a pretty quiet place.”

Ramey Beavers, an Iowa State student, said he thinks that sex-related crimes are a big issue in Ames.

“I think [the police] should focus more on sexual assaults than the underage drinking that they hyperfixate on,” Beavers said.

The survey showed that 22.9% of residents wanted more emphasis on alcohol-related crimes compared to 54% for sex-related crimes.

The report also asked residents what programs they would like to see more or less funding for, with law enforcement having the highest rating, with 24.9% of residents wanting less spending for the program, 23% reporting wanting more and 52% wanting it to remain the same.

Walter said law enforcement getting requests for decreased funding is a common theme from year to year.

“I think people tend to focus on law enforcement on traffic laws and so forth, so I think that’s an area where you see some interest in reducing that,” Walter said.

The report showed that 42% of residents wanted less emphasis on traffic control and enforcement, with 4.7% requesting more.

Activity Report

The Ames Police activity report for September reports 17 use-of-force incidents — the highest so far in 2022. Walter said that there is no identifiable cause for the increase.

“We never want to see the uptick in use of force,” Walter said. “That’s something we pay close attention to. I don’t know that we can attribute it to any one thing other than more people that are not being compliant, quite frankly.”

Walter said police train for de-escalation and that de-escalation is their goal.

“If you read through some of those scenarios, sometimes you can try all those attempts but oftentimes, especially when someone is under the influence, it can be hard to get through to them,” Walter said. “Nobody wants people to comply more than we do.”

Walter said that the police want to de-escalate for their own safety as well, and one Ames officer was hurt this year while trying to detain someone.

As of October, there is no update on the instances of gang activity in Ames that have occurred throughout the year. The non-fatal shooting of a 16-year-old boy Aug. 17 at the Social West Ames remains an open investigation.

The Ames Police have identified two Ames-based groups who have been feuding over the past year. Walter said the reason for the conflict is unknown, but it has led to violent retaliation.

Walter said things have settled down in recent months in terms of activity from the two groups.

“Part of that is probably because of the proactive nature we took in trying to solve some of the crimes these individuals were involved with,” Walter said. “We’re aware of several members that are currently in jail. Another part is that some of these individuals moved away [from Ames].”

Walter said the police are continuing to monitor the situation.

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