On April 27, 2011 the SCPD hosted a City-Wide Town Hall Meeting to inform the public on current projects and enforcement efforts and get input from the community as to what problems need to be addressed. Over 100 people were in attendance to include residents, city administrators, community activist, and officers.
The meeting began with a presentation of current programs and projects. The Friends of the Sioux City Police Department and Rita Donnelly, who oversees the Volunteers in Policing and Project Lifesaver Programs, talked about how they support the department. Their efforts have bought equipment that is outside of the department’s budget or provided valuable assistance that helps free up officers from handling mundane tasks in the station. Information on the new animal control facility and the Neighborhood Network was also discussed.
The two topics that caught the most attention were the presentations on Crime Statistics and the new Speed Camera program going into effect. Herb Kuehne, Crime Analyst for the SCPD, detailed trends over the last five years.
“Overall crime is down in Sioux City. We are a safe community” Kuehne explained after showing stats that show violent crimes were on the decline. Three crimes that seem to be increasing from their lowest level in five years were burglaries, thefts, and graffiti. Citizens can help better protect their property by reviewing their security measures and reporting suspicious activity. Officers will continue to increase patrols and enforcement in problem areas.
Captain Lisa Claeys presented statistics of several studies done on I29 demonstrating the need for speed enforcement. Data collected from SCPD accident reports showed that in five years, there have been 207 accidents that resulted in people being injured and 8 fatality accidents in which 13 people have lost their lives on I29.
“90% of fatality accidents on I29 and 75% of personal injury accidents are related to speed,” explained Capt Claeys. “We will continue to direct enforcement efforts to I29 but the construction presents safety concerns for officers and motorists.”
Capt Claeys explained how the construction creates difficulties for officers to run radar and how the narrow roads do not permit officers to safely stop cars on the side of the road. Speed Cameras will be posted in construction zones and will allow the SCPD to enforce speed limits without danger to officers or motorist.
“If no one is caught speeding because they are obeying the speed limit thanks to these cameras, we will be happy with that,” Capt Claeys said.
Attendees had opportunity to discuss issues that they have with officers that work their neighborhoods. This allowed them to get answers to questions and bring problems to the attention of those officers. Comment sheets were available for people to list concerns they had and also give their opinions on several programs.
Chief Doug Young expressed the importance of this interaction at the beginning of the evening when he said, “This is a great opportunity for feedback.”
The evening was capped off with a viewing of a video featuring cars running red lights, near misses, and stunning crashes taken by the Red Light Cameras in Sioux City. Gasps were heard as images of cars colliding were shown on the screen. The video highlighted the importance of safety at intersections.
Lieutenant Rex Mueller, who is charge of Community Team Policing for the department, said “Our success is dependent on the citizens.”
If you would like to contact the Sergeant in charge of your district, call 279-6440. If you are interested in arranging a presentation for a group on safety or crime prevention, contact Officer Jeremy J. McClure at 898-4537.