Police officers in Council Bluffs, Iowa, needed a new headquarters. Their previous headquarters was on its last legs and bursting at the seams: closets had been converted to offices and interview rooms, most offices were filled to capacity with work stations and storage. There was no welcoming public entrance, the roof leaked, and water damage was widespread. Attesting to the space issue, evidence was found stacked literally to the ceiling. Something had to change.
Our Community Engagement team was tapped to find a police headquarters solution that would be publicly supported. So, the team designed a community study group to assess the current situation and look for achievable solutions. Eleven diverse Council Bluffs citizens made up the study group and were tasked with thoroughly considering dozens of potential headquarters locations across Council Bluffs. The group eventually recommended three sites that offered the highest return on investment and best met the police department’s needs and the needs of Council Bluffs.
By making community members the experts and executives of this process, public support for this costly new project was high. Because members of the study group hailed from all sectors of Council Bluffs, the public put greater trust in their opinions, even though the new development would be expensive. This community engagement strategy demonstrates the power in the public; led by the expertise and good judgement of community members, the community study group determined a solution that benefited everyone.