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ISUPD focuses on outreach and community engagement; January activity report shows

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Courtesy of ISUPD
ISUPD trains annually for active shooter events. During their January tra

As part of their monthly activity reports, the Iowa State University Police Department (ISUPD) added outreach statistics into their reporting. The January activity report was the first to include those numbers. 

“That was our way of trying to help the community understand that we’re here to do programming presentations, and a lot of people take us up on that,” ISUPD Chief Michael Newton said. “Our outreach team is busy almost every day, so we thought we would add in just to help people understand what we’re doing.”

In January of 2023, the department held 20 outreach events. For the first month of 2024, they held 26. 

A few notable outreach and training events were the “recognizing your reporting disruptive behavior” training and ISUPD’s violent incident response training. Both have been popular with the community, which Newton believes may be partially because of what is being seen nationally with the continued increase in active shooter incidents.

“Active shooter events continue to pop the headlines, if not every month, every other month,” Newton said. “Every time one of those happens, our request for outreach skyrockets, so what we tend to tell people is let’s talk first about recognizing and responding to disruptive behavior training because that training is meant to teach you things to look for. We want to prevent the next shooting, wherever it might be.”

The department’s mental health advocates continue to do mental health training. A new piece of training that is being introduced is eight-hour mental health first aid training for the officers. 

The activity report showed a significant decrease in calls for service and traffic stops due to inclement weather. 

“Weather affects us tremendously in policing,” Newton said. “When there’s less people out on the roads, there’s less people out doing illegal things.”

Operating while impaired numbers decreased by 60%, from 20 in January of 2023 to eight January of 2024.

“There’s a side of me that hopes that that means fewer people are out there drinking and driving, but we know nationally and statistically that’s probably not the case,” Newton said. “I’d like to believe that people are making smart choices and using Uber and those other modes of transportation.”

While the trends for mental health continue to rise, according to Newton, the department notes the importance of ISUPD’s partnership with Student Health and Wellness. 

“The more we do around mental health, the fewer calls for service we have as a police department,” Newton said. 

January statistics: 

Assault: 1

Sexual assault: 0 (100% decrease)

Harassment: 4 (33.3 increase)

Interference with official acts: 2

Trespassing: 1 (50% decrease)

Extortion/forgery/fraud: 4 (300% increase)

Burglary: 0 (100% decrease)

Theft: 7

Auto theft: 1

Criminal mischief/vandalism: 10 (100% increase)

Drug violations: 16

Alcohol violations: 10 (66.7% increase)

OWI: 8 (60% decrease)

Traffic/accidents: 22 (35.5% decrease)

Traffic stops: 326 (25.9% decrease)

New reports: 99 (3.9% decrease)

Calls for service: 2750 (12.9% decrease)

Outreach events: 26 (30% increase)

Number of arrests: 33 (35.3% decrease)

Number of charges filed: 53 (30.3% decrease)

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