Police hope to add expired prescription drop box

Project could happen when West Liberty city hall remodeling is complete


The West Liberty Police Department hopes to obtain a grant to provide a drop box for expired prescription drugs at City Hall, it was learned early this month from Interim Police Chief Dave Lira.

Lira said because of city hall remodeling, it’s not sure where the attached box will be placed, hoping to make it as convenient as possible for residents wishing to dispose of expired prescription drugs or medications no longer needed in a household due to the death of a resident.

He said the one-way box has won the support of Mayor Robert Hartman and will be a first for the community, although he said it may not be in place until after the city hall remodeling is completed in several months, the department moving to the south side of the Waldo C. Myers building.

Lira also reported he is now a certified instructor after spending two days in a Force Science Institute Realistic De-escalation Instructor Course in Johnston, Iowa. The instruction not only allows the department to fulfill it’s year’s de-escalation training requirement set forth by Iowa Code 80B.11G, but Lira will be able to train fellow officers on his force in de-escalation, rather than paying for officers to attend outside training.

Lira said instruction will be an ongoing learning process for officers. “You don’t just take one class and you’re an expert,” he said.

He said there are a lot of times officers have to de-escalate a situation, whether it be a group riot or a household conflict and said the training will be invaluable in settling a situation before it becomes violent. “It’s basically learning to talk people down,” he said.

The department is also applying for a grant to obtain four Drager 5500 Xplore gas masks with Bayonet filters for officers, waiting for a spec and cost estimate for the masks, to be obtained through a Firehouse Subs First Reponder Grant.

The city is also in the process of hiring a new full-time officer to replace Andrew Siitari and Lira said the department had over 25 applicants for the position. In the meanwhile, Rick Vazquez, who was formerly with the North Liberty Police Department, has taken part-time duties on the force and Karan Ayala has been sworn in as a reserve peace officer.

The department reported 200 calls for service in January including three arrests and five charges including four misdemeanors and one felony crime.

West Liberty police also inspected 34 vehicles during the month, bringing to the city $1,360 income.

The department also reported a donation they obtained through the Wal-Mart in Muscatine, getting 30 boxes of folders to be made available to students in the West Liberty School District.