Police in Storm Lake are inviting citizens to give them a report card — even the people they ticket and arrest. Chief Mark Prosser says for almost ten years they’ve been asking people to fill out the evaluations, an idea from a community-policing workshop he went through. Storm lake’s well-known for having a diverse population including many southeast Asians and Hispanics, and this is just one thing police do to keep a finger on the pulse of the community. The city sends out a survey in one out of each 100 “calls for service” involving the cops. Prosser says it could go to a resident who’s a victim of a crime, got a ticket, or someone taken to jail for a criminal offense, it’s just “luck of the draw,” but the return rate of 25-35 percent is about normal for surveys. The chief says the results are published in the city’s annual report. The survey asks half a dozen or so questions about whether the citizen was satisfied with their “contact,” whether the officer was courteous, knowledgeable, professional and a space to write any other comments, pro or con. Chief Prosser says for the most part people are satisfied with the job police do and understand their role in keeping the peace. Some comments aren’t so flattering, but the chief says when they get criticism, especially if there’s more than one remark about a police procedure or approach, they consider whether they should make changes to improve their “customer service.” As far as the critics, Chief Prosser says “you shouldn’t be in law enforcement if your feelings are easily hurt.” Comments have ranged from arrested people complaining they were taken to jail, to those who said they didn’t blame the police dog for doing its job, to one who said the arresting officer was polite and smelled good.
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