With the rise in juvenile crime, the Davenport City Council wants local legislators to support the first Juvenile Assessment Center in Iowa.
The City Council will vote to approve its legislative strategies next week. During a management meeting Tuesday, Police Chief Paul Sikorski said a group — including but not limited to Juvenile Court Services, Department of Human Services, local judges, Scott County Sheriff's Office and the Bettendorf Police Department — have been meeting and are supportive of the concept.
"We do have a lot of services in our area, but it's very fragmented and they change from time to time depending on funding sources," Sikorksi said. "The other thing this could potentially do — as seen around the nation — is relieve some of the congestion in the juvenile court system."
Sikorski said the assessment center is not a lockup, but rather a 365-day a year central location that incorporates both law and community services so youths can get the assistance they need.
"It would be the main contact where they develop a plan for these kids," Sikorski said.
Within Scott County, there were 254 youthful offenders admitted to the Juvenile Detention Center in 2016, representing an increase of 25 percent since 2011.
Research from the Justice Policy Institute indicates similar facilities decrease recidivism by 22 percent and yield $13 in benefits to public safety for every dollar spent.
With state agencies involved in service delivery, the city is seeking participation and monetary support from the state.
"There has been some good success around the nation in different areas that have tried things like this," Sikorski said. "It's certainly something all of the partners are interested in doing."
Two of the partners are state agencies, so "they really need to be on-board for this to successful," Sikorski said.
The council discussed other legislative priorities including commercial backfill, economic development and traffic cameras.
In looking at the legislative priorities laid out and the makeup of current representation, Alderman Mike Matson, 7th Ward, said the city would need to cultivate bi-partisan support to have favorable results during the next legislative session.
"Most of ours are Democrats and if we don't have a strong other side to do that, it's going to be a very strong session against the stuff we've been advocating for again," Matson said. "We need to find someone who will help us."