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The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Officer David Schwindt steps down after five years

The Daily Iowan; Photo by Ben Sm
Officer David Schwindt of ICPD stands in the ped mall on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017. Schwindt will be stepping down as the Downtown Liaison Officer after 16 years of service. (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)

After five years of being the Downtown Liaison Officer, David Schwindt is stepping down to a position where he can focus more heavily on data-driven justice.

When the downtown liaison position was first created in 2012, Schwindt had been on patrol for 15 years, and was ready for a change.

“I was ready for something different, and it sounded like an interesting challenge,” he said.

His application was reviewed by the Iowa City Downtown District and the Iowa City Police Department, and Executive Director Nancy Bird said he passed with flying colors.

“He was a really amazing person for this role,” Bird said.

When he first started out, Schwindt’s goal was to find long-term solutions for the problems people were coming to him about. One of the problems that kept coming up was what people called the homeless population, Schwindt said. They asked him to just arrest them, but he believed that putting them away for a little bit didn’t actually solve the problem.

He made sure to reach out to the chronically homeless community and others who spend most of their time downtown.

Schwindt said that when he first started showing up in the Pedestrian Mall to speak to some of the homeless people, they would all scatter. They were used to police coming because someone called them in, so someone would end up being arrested or ticketed.

Schwindt combated this mindset by coming every morning and just talking to them.

RELATED: Iowa City works on homelessness

“I just started talking to people, just having casual
conversations, getting to know them, and just like with the business, asking them, ‘What do you see as problems down here?’ — because they’re part of the community, too,” he said.

This habit of getting to know everyone downtown gave him the nickname “Officer Friendly,” because no one really knew his name, Schwindt said. The chronically homeless would use this nickname at different service organizations, which gave him even more connections in the community.

“They would go to service organizations and talk about Officer Friendly, and through that I got connected to some of the service agencies and started going to the local homeless coordinating board meetings,” he said.

Now that he’s stepping down, Schwindt said, he’ll focus more on how different organizations can merge data to better help the people who need it.

“My first step will be helping agencies be part of the data-driven justice to get their data into the online platform,” he said.

This platform will allow different organizations such as hospitals, jails, and shelters to look at each other’s data and find patterns with people who are high-utilizers of these services.

“Data-driven justice tries to get all that different information where they can make a continuity of care for that client,” Officer Colin Fowler said.

Fowler has taken over the role as Downtown Liaison

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About the Contributor
Brooklyn Draisey, Projects Editor


Email: [email protected] Brooklyn Draisey is the Projects Editor at The Daily Iowan. She is a senior studying journalism and entrepreneurial management. She has worked as a news reporter, news editor, and managing editor during her time at the DI. She enjoys writing long-form, in-depth features.