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The second-day story, with your help. Call Gazette reporter Adam Belz at (319) 398-8273 or e-mail him: adam.belz@gazcomm.com

Chief pegs C.R. parents

CEDAR RAPIDS — Of the three boys arrested after the reported March 29 assault of a police officer, one was turned in by his own father, Cedar Rapids police Chief Greg Graham said.

“The last kid that we arrested, the reason we were able to get our hands on him was his dad flagged down one of our patrol cars and said, ‘Hey, I think my kid knows something about this case, here he is, take him,’” he said.

Graham was referring to Maurice Harden, 15, who was arrested March 31, two days after Officer Tim Davis was found unconscious next to his squad car on A Avenue NE.

But Harden’s father is an exception to the rule, Graham said.

Teenage boys have been involved in a handful of Cedar Rapids crimes in recent weeks, and Graham blames parents, in large part.

“It’s absolutely a lack of parental responsibility, parental guidance, adult supervision,” Graham said. “We’ve got to do something to get our parents to step up.”

Graham spoke to The Gazette’s editorial board Thursday, and several pieces of news emerged:
– No witnesses have come forward in the reported assault of Officer Davis.
– Davis, though he is responding to commands by squeezing peoples’ hands, still had not spoken as of Thursday.
– Of about 200 Cedar Rapids police officers, only three are black. It will be difficult to hire more, because black police officers are highly sought after across the nation, Graham said.
– A district police station in a storefront at the corner of First Avenue East and 15th Street should be operating in 30 to 45 days. Code enforcement, parks and recreation and a community meeting room will likely be included.
– The department hopes to establish district stations in east and west Cedar Rapids. Graham isn’t yet sure where.

Graham explained that district stations are an effort to build trust between police and neighborhoods, so citizens can better help police prevent and solve crime.

“That relationship building is clearly on the shoulders of the police department and it’s clearly something I’m committed to,” Graham said.

District stations can also stimulate economic development, Graham said. In Ocala, Fla. —where he was a deputy chief before he took over as Cedar Rapids’ chief 10 month ago — a district station helped a blighted area flourish. When police moved in, so did businesses, and the neighborhood improved, he said. After about a year, the police moved the district station elsewhere.

“The police department,” Graham said, “can play a vital, vital role in neighborhood revitalization, business revitalization.”

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Filed under: Cedar Rapids City Council, , ,

2 Responses

  1. BH says:

    Officer Tim Davis, not Tom Davis

  2. adambelz says:

    Thanks BH. Correction made.

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