City Manager seeks approval for new Iowa City police chief

City Manager Geoff Fruin wrote in a memo on Thursday, asking the Iowa City City Council’s approval to appoint Dustin Liston as Iowa City’s next police chief


Katie Goodale

Iowa City Police Department vehicles are seen on July 9, 2019.

Rachel Schilke, News Editor

Iowa City City Manager Geoff Fruin has recommended El Paso Police Department Lieutenant Dustin Liston as Iowa City’s next police chief, pending approval from the city council.

In a memo sent to the city council on Thursday, Fruin said he is asking the city council to approve his appointment of Dustin Liston as the next police chief, to be announced at the Civil Service Commission’s meeting on Sept. 24. 

“Throughout the selection process, Mr. Liston exhibited a strong understanding of the type of leader we need here in Iowa City,” Fruin wrote. “He understands that his role will be to lead this department as it accelerates its path toward a more robust community policing model, one that acknowledges the importance of equity and incorporates new approaches to long-term issues.”

Dustin Liston was one of three police chief finalists, along with Jason Lando and Jeremy Logan. Born and raised in Iowa, Fruin wrote that after graduating the University of Iowa, he joined the El Paso, Texas Police Department and served there for 22 years. 

Linton currently works as a lieutenant assigned as the Director of the El Paso Fusion Center, a regional multiagency intelligence hub dedicated to protecting citizens and the infrastructure of Far West Texas and Southern New Mexico.

Fruin said Liston’s experience in the community has provided him an opportunity to positively collaborate with a diverse population, which is a point of emphasis for the Iowa City Police Department. He said the El Paso Police Department serves a diverse community of 680,000 residents, with over 80 percent of residents identifying as Hispanic, and The University of Texas of El Paso, with over 25,000 students.

“His experience serving a diverse community with a large higher education institution is also an invaluable asset to our community,” he wrote. “…[Liston] has proven to be a strong collaborator and is highly respected amongst his peers. He has no disciplinary history in his 22 years…and is regarded as having strong morals and ethics that serve as a foundation for all of his actions.”

Fruin added that Liston will be a solid partner to the Community Police Review Board, the Human Rights Commission, and other boards and commissions eager to bridge gaps between the community and the police.

All finalists for the police chief position attended a community forum on Aug. 25, spending two and a half hours talking to community members and answering their questions, and expounding on their qualifications, as previously reported by The Daily Iowan.

RELATED: IC Police Chief candidates speak at community forum to address concerns

Community organizations and social justice groups, such as the Iowa Freedom Riders, have called for defunding the police in protests throughout the summer. 

Liston said at the forum that he believes he can build solid and lasting relationships with protestors so that they feel as though their voices are being heard.

“…People need to feel like they not only have a voice, but that that voice is being heard and is being valued,” Liston said on Aug. 25. “And we might disagree on just about everything…but the leader of the department needs to be front and center on that.”