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Des Moves Closer to Historic Racial Profiling Ban

DES MOINES, IOWA – Monday, June 8, 2020 – Culminating two years of work, the Des Moines City Council tonight took an important step toward passage of a historic racial profiling ordinance. Council members tonight approved first consideration of the ordinance by a 7-0 vote.

Mayor Frank Cownie said the second consideration of the ordinance, including public comment, will occur at the regular scheduled meeting of the City Council on June 22.  

“While we took a significant step toward a racial profiling ban, it’s important that over the next two weeks we continue to listen to our community leaders and how we might strengthen this ordinance,” Cownie said. “In the end, we all want to see an ordinance that will bring positive change and understanding in our City.”

The City and the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights (CHR) Commission began work on the racial profiling ordinance in 2018. Since then, City leaders and the Commission worked closely with the Community Alliance, a consortium that includes the NAACP, ACLU and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, to further strengthen the ordinance. 

In addition to developing a racial profiling ordinance, the City Council has passed resolutions directing the City Manager to include implicit bias training, de-escalation training and cultural competency training in employee training/education programs and to determine best practices for research and data collection methods concerning law and code enforcement.

 The City Council has also been working with the CHR Commission and City administration to consider and propose the following:

  • Restoring our city youth advisory board to give young persons a voice in our city
  • Requiring City Council members and board/commission appointees to participate in implicit bias and cultural competency trainings 
  • Developing a Workforce Equity Plan to increase representation of all communities in the city government workforce 


Al Setka
Communications Manager, City Manager’s Office 
(515) 283-4057

About the City of Des Moines
The City of Des Moines: Iowa’s capital city and local government servicing more than 217,000 residents, 51+ neighborhoods, over 4,000 acres of parkland and 81 miles of trails. The City of Des Moines stands to be a financially strong city with exceptional city services, fostering an involved community in a customer friendly atmosphere. Visit DSM.cityFacebook and Twitter for more information.