DOUBLE STANDARD: Who Benefitted From Free Passes

Des Moines — By releasing more than 80 documents to Channel 13 News, Des Moines police revealed that a policy meant to protect emergency responders turned into a legal double standard and a free pass for anyone driving a vehicle registered to any government entity “All the way to schools, parks departments of some cities,” said Des Moines Police Sgt. Chris Scott.  Scott added, “That (policy)… got implemented at a broader scope than I think what it was intended.”

Instead of citations, letters were sent to officials at Des Moines Area Regional Transit (DART), The Des Moines International Airport, and Metro Waste Authority.  Letters were also sent to 10 different municipalities, including Ankeny, Davenport, and Sioux Center.  Nine law enforcement agencies were politely informed of their alleged infractions, including the Texas Department of Public Safety.  The letters read, “No fine is required to be paid.”  All letters bear the name of Des Moines Police Chief Judy A. Bradshaw.  Sgt. Scott insisted, “(The Police are) not above anybody else and we don’t think anybody else is (above the law), either.”

“People are overwhelmingly opposed to these and the government is not listening,” said District 16 candidate for Iowa Senate Dave Edwards.  Edwards said that he wants to introduce a bill that would ban all traffic cameras in Iowa.  His opponent, Sen. Dick Dearden disagrees.  Dearden said, “The argument should be about public safety and if we’re protecting the citizens and that’s what we should be discussing.”

Sen. Dearden said that the letters undermine safety and that they should have been issued as citations.  Six free passes were given to colleges, including all three public universities.  Edwards said that he views the letters as another argument for getting rid of law that he says is unfair.  Sgt. Scott said that city officials are working on a different policy to enact.  Scott said, “We’re going to remedy what we think needs to be fixed in the policy that we currently have.”