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Democrat Iowa House candidate Christina Bohannan hosted an online Zoom event with Rep. Ras Smith (D-Waterloo) on racial and criminal justice reform. Bohannan, a University of Iowa College of Law professor, beat Democrat incumbent Vicki Lensing in a June primary.

An interesting takeaway from the meeting was how Smith and Bohannan hailed all the “extra” things that schools do other than actually educate children, but chided the “extra” things police officers do.

Smith noted that students “get their basic needs taken care of” at school. Students, he added, were picking up sack lunches from the schools. Health services and mental health services are offered.

Notably much, much more than what schools are intended to do – provide an education.

Just minutes later, a viewer asked why we’re asking “untrained armed police officers” to solve so many of society’s problems.

“We have SROs (school resource officers) in schools rather than having counselors, rather than having mental health experts and others,” Bohannan said. “It’s true out in communities as well. It is absolutely true that we are just asking police officers to do more and more things that are not within their expertise and that they are just, frankly, uniquely unsuited to do precisely because people are terrified of the police and of the weapons they carry and everything else.”

Bohannan said we should step back and “reimagine” what everything looks like. She said she loves the “reimagine the police” tagline. She has no problem with police investigating crimes after an actual “dangerous” crime has been committed.

“All of these other things – domestic abuse issues, drug intervention, mental health – those are just not suited to police involvement,” Bohannan said. “And I don’t think we’re going to see the outcomes that we want.”

Jacob Hall

Author: Jacob Hall