The volunteer peace-keeping force known as the Guardian Angels plans to hold its first-ever organizational meeting in Iowa.
Davenport Alderman Bill Lynn has invited the international citizen-run group to discuss starting a local chapter because Davenport’s crime rate continues to rise. “My plan right now is to make it open to the public and ask all of the city councilman and mayors and police chiefs in all the surrounding cities,” Lynn says.
Davenport Police Chief Mike Bladel and Scott County Attorney Bill Davis reportedly have liability concerns about the Guardian Angels, but Lynn says everyone else is on board. “I haven’t had one negative response yet. I understand it’s their job to be concerned about those things but as long as it’s a separate entity from the city,” he says. “We may simply sorta’ give them an atta’ boy and go that route but they can do this on their own. It’s a citizens’ group.”
The Guardian Angels were formed in 1979 in New York City to combat widespread violence and crime and they’re now in 61 cities around the globe. Lynn says he’s “had it with all the crime in the central city” of Davenport.
“The advantage of bringing in the Guardian Angels is, they’ve been through this in many cities,” he says. “They train people. They know what to expect and they have really cleaned up New York.”
No meeting date in Davenport has been set.
The group originally trained members to make citizen’s arrests in serious crimes, which brought both praise and criticism. It now focuses more on crime prevention through community empowerment and education, running programs and workshops in schools, community centers and businesses.