Iowa City, UI Police combine special response teams - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City, UI Police combine special response teams

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University of Iowa police and the Iowa City Police Department will soon be training for and responding to high-risk situations together. The two departments are combing their special response teams, which respond to situations such as hostages and barricaded individuals.

"When citizens need help, they call the police and when the police need help, we call the special response team," Jody Matherly, Iowa City Chief of Police said. "They're highly trained to go into critical incidents that are high-risk in nature."

Combining the special response teams helps both departments with budget expenses.

"We respond the same way. We train the same way so combining them just made sense. We're always looking for different ways to combine our resources to save the citizen's money and save the student's money yet make it safer for everybody," University of Iowa Public Safety Director, Scott Beckner, said.

It also creates a stronger and bigger team. Alone, Iowa City had 16 officers making up their team while UI had 8.

Beckner said when the calls to respond do go out, not everyone is available. Together, they're up to 24 members.

"When you train together and you know each others moves then it certainly makes for a safer incident but also if you talk to tactical members they'll tell you two is one and one is none. We need redundancy built in. We need support and backup when these type of incidents take place," Matherly said.

While calls to responding to these type of situations are rare for both departments, being prepared is still a priority.

"But when we do need it, we need it well-trained, well-oiled, and ready to go and we have that in this team," Matherly said.

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