The University of Iowa

Our Commitment to Change

A Message from the UI Department of Public Safety

Over the last few months, our department has heard members of our community express their fear, anger, and frustration with law enforcement. We hear you, we grieve with you, and we are ready not just to listen, but to make meaningful changes. In June 2020, the university announced several steps it would take to help our department work toward law enforcement reform through the Reimagining Campus Safety Action Committee.

We will not tolerate anything but a safe and inclusive campus for people of all backgrounds and will continue to gather feedback from our community throughout this process to further educate and train our officers.

Our door is open, and we want to hear from you. Please reach out if you would like to be involved in this important work. We are open to meaningful change.


UI DPS and #8CantWait

UI DPS meets all benchmarks, in practice and policy, that are outlined in Campaign Zero’s #8CantWait project. Here’s how:

1. Ban Chokeholds & Strangleholds

UIPD Policy 300.3.5

Use of Choke Holds, "Officers shall not use choke holds, unless deadly force is otherwise justified."

2. Require De-Escalation

UIPD Policy 300.3.6

Alternative Tactics – De-escalation, "When circumstances reasonably permit, officers should use non-violent strategies and techniques to decrease the intensity of a situation, improve decision-making, improve communication, reduce the need for force, and increase voluntary compliance."

3. Require Warning Before Shooting

UIPD Policy 300.4

Deadly Force Applications, "When reasonable, the officer shall, prior to the use of deadly force, make efforts to identify him/herself as a peace officer and to warn that deadly force may be used..."

4. Requires Exhaust All Alternatives Before Shooting

UIPD Policy 300.3

Use of Force, “Officers shall use only the amount of force that reasonably appears necessary given the facts and circumstances perceived by the officer at the time of the event to accomplish a legitimate law enforcement purpose.”

5. Duty to Intervene

UIPD Policy 300.2.1

Duty to Intercede and Report, “Any officer present and observing another officer using force that is clearly beyond that which is objectively reasonable under the circumstances shall, when in a position to do so, intercede to prevent the use of unreasonable force.”

6. Ban Shooting at Moving Vehicles

UIPD Policy 300.4.1

Moving Vehicles, “When feasible, officers should take reasonable steps to move out of the path of an approaching vehicle instead of discharging their firearm at the vehicle or any of its occupants. An officer should only discharge a firearm at a moving vehicle or its occupants when the officer reasonably believes there are no other reasonable means available to avert the imminent threat of the vehicle, or if deadly force other than the vehicle is directed at the officer or others.”

7. Require Use of Force Continuum

UIPD policies clearly state when and how each use of force option should be used.​

Policies include:​

  • Policy 300: Use of Force​
  • Policy 302: Handcuffing and Restraints​
  • Policy 303: Control Devices​
  • Policy 304: Conducted Energy Device​
  • Policy 307: Vehicle Pursuits​
  • Policy 309: Canines
8. Require Comprehensive Reporting

UIPD Policy 300.5

Reporting the Use of Force, “Any use of force by a member of this department shall be documented promptly, completely, and accurately…”

Beyond #8CantWait

Policy 300.7 

Supervisor Responsibilities, “A supervisor should respond to a reported application of force resulting in visible injury…”​

Policy 300.7.1

Watch Commander Responsibility, “The Watch Commander shall review each use of force by any personnel within his/her command to ensure compliance with this policy and to address any training issues.”

Read Use of Force Policies

Additional Steps We're Taking

Policy Review

We are currently conducting a thorough review of our police policies to ensure they align with reforms outlined by organizations calling for change.

Our department is conducting this review in partnership with Lexipol, a company that automatically updates police policies with best practices that align with state and federal laws. Our department was the first in the state to partner with Lexipol, and we did so in order to keep up with legislative changes and training mandates, maintain positive community relations, and ensure officer and citizen safety as best practices evolve. When a policy changes, our system is updated automatically, and officers are trained on updates to our policies in daily shift briefings.

Though we are currently in alignment with Campaign Zero's #8CantWait project, we will continue to use Lexipol to ensure our policies remain in alignment with organizations calling for change.

Updated Duty to Intercede Policy

On June 19, 2020 we signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to expanded our duty to intercede policy to include all area law enforcement officers. this MOU requires our officers, and area law enforcement officers — in Iowa City, Coralville, University Heights, North Liberty and the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office — to intercede if they observe another officer using unreasonable force no matter their agency or rank. You can view the MOU at this link.


UIPD meets all police reform recommendations that are outlined in Campaign Zero’s #8CantWait project. However, we continually review these polices to determine where we can make improvements. Find a full explanation of our policies as they relate to #8CantWait above.

We will continue to evaluate our current training programs and are actively seeking opportunities to further educate our officers.

In addition to completing the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy and training required by the state, UI DPS officers go through a variety of supplemental training, which includes but is not limited to:

All local departments also attend Multi-Agency Training System (M.A.T.S), which includes training on the following topics: 

  • Ethics
  • Crowd Control
  • Diversity 
  • Civil Rights/Gender Training 
  • LGBTQ+ Communities

We will continue to train and employ students to help break down barriers between students and our department.

The UI DPS Student Security Division acts as a bridge between students and police, empowering students to play an active role in campus safety. Members of the Student Security Division support community policing culture on campus by serving as ambassadors for the department and participating in community building activities in addition to their security duties. 

UI DPS employs more than 100 student security officers throughout the academic year. On a given evening, roughly 10 students are deployed across campus to provide peer-to-peer safety support with a focus on bystander intervention and overall safety. This program is focused on community service and safety as opposed to law enforcement and compliance.

Their assignments include but are not limited to:

Students employed by our Student Security Officer program have later joined our department and other area law enforcement agencies as police officers and other vital roles.

We will continue to use updated technology to uphold our commitment to transparency.

The UI DPS was one of the first agencies in Iowa to fully deploy body worn cameras in 2011 when the technology was in its infancy. The driving force was football game day operations when our officers did not have in-car video available to them as they worked on foot during the Hawkeye football games.

Each officer was equipped with a body camera for the 2011-2012 season. Their effectiveness was so successful in holding the officers and their contacts accountable they were deployed full-time. In 2015, the department refreshed its technology and supplied cameras not only to the police officers, but all other non-sworn full time and student security staff.

Most recently, in 2019, the department refreshed its entire car and body camera system as the technology improved. Updates included better battery life, GPD, HD video, better fields of view, automated activation tools, and live video feeds from vehicles. All patrol and NITE RIDE vehicles have in-car video systems for the safety of the officers and the public. UI DPS is continuing to make improvements to its technology infrastructure to support the public’s expectations for the use of technology and holding law enforcement accountable.

We are committed to increasing our transparency when it comes to sharing data regarding use of force by our officers. Beginning immediately, we will post Use of Force data to our website on a regular basis. 

We are still determining the best way to compile and share this information, but some initial data is available for your review below.

Additional data compiled by the department is currently available on our reports page. 


Use of Force Data

Percent of Police Contact that Results in a Use of Force (2017-2019)
Percent of Police Contact that Results in a Use of Force


Use of Force Incidents in the Last Three Years (2017-2019)

Use of Force Incidents in the Last Three Years



Result of Injury Due to Use of Force

Result of Injury Due to Use of Force

Use of Force Against Students/Non-Students

Use of force against students and non-students



Use of Force by Race of Suspect
Use of Force by Race of Suspect




Reimagining Campus Safety Action Committee


This committee is charged with identifying strategies, tactics, and timelines for creating a campus community that supports the safety of all individuals, with particular attention to people who have traditionally experienced disproportionate harm from systems such as law enforcement.


The committee’s work will occur in phases. Recommendations are due to President Harreld by the spring 2021 semester, with a goal of having a new structure in place by July 2021.

Learn More

To learn more about this process, committee membership, and progress, see the committee's webpage:

Initial Steps and Progress

Updated June 25, 2020

See full update.

Reimagining the Department

The university will conduct an audit of our department, including a climate assessment of interactions with communities of color.

Status: In Planning

Partnerships with Shared Governance

Creating a focused partnership with shared governance leadership (including UISG and GPSG) to initiate reform.

Status: Completed and Ongoing

Training and Operational Requirements

The university will establish specific training and operational requirements for the UIDPS within the campus Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan

Status: In Planning

Commitment to Use of Force Project

Our department will commit to President Barack Obama’s Police Use of Force Project.

Status: Completed and Ongoing

Primary Responders

The university will maintain UIDPS as the primary public safety responders for campus.

Status: Completed and Ongoing

DEI and Social Justice Training

Our department will prioritize skills and a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice for all employees.

Status: In Planning

We Want to Hear From You 

Do you have ideas for how we can improve campus safety?

Please reach out if you would like to be involved in this important work.

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