ICPD to Add Nightshift for Downtown Relations

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- A new outreach officer is helping improve relations between police and the downtown district in Iowa City.

Officer Travis Graves is now a shared outreach officer who serves the Downtown District and the city's Neighborhood Services Division. Graves will split his time answering mostly non-violent crimes like nuisance calls. He'll also work with people and businesses directly.

"As school starts back up, we'll be dealing with all the college kids downtown and working with the businesses on how we can problem solve issues that we're seeing down there," said Graves.

Travis Graves has been with Iowa City police for about five years and now works evenings from 6 to after the bars close. He patrols downtown and works closely with businesses as the outreach officer.

"There's a lot of other issues that we deal with," said Graves. "Just maintaining a good presence down there and making sure everyone feels safe. And the businesses, that everything is going smoothly."

It's an idea people like Kim Meek, who co-owns Pints, said will help not only patrons, but her workers too.

"Even for our employees," said Meek. "We have a young staff of college students. (It'll help) especially on busy weekends, football weekends."

Meek said strengthening the bond between law enforcement can go a long way.

"If there's someone that they know that they can go to or that they know is going to be around, it's certainly going to help," said Meek.

The timing of this new police position is also a plus.

"Things will pick up," said Graves. "Obviously, we have RAGBRAI coming up in a few weeks and that'll get busy and our students will come back and we'll start seeing a lot more activity downtown."

"With summer weather, it's hot out which can kind of affect people's abilities of how much they can drink or affect them a bit quicker," said Meek.

The idea of the shared position comes in collaboration with the downtown district.