Local alderman says new juvenile assessment center may be another level of ‘bureaucracy’

DAVENPORT, Iowa- Quad City leaders are looking at ways to fix the rise of car thefts, and fourth ward alderman Ray Ambrose said the problem may be with the states.

Ambrose has been a Davenport alderman since 1996. He says at that time, Davenport and Scott County had one of the top juvenile assessment centers in the country, but unfortunately since then, he says, things have changed.

"I'd like to point at the judges, the State Supreme Court, and their lack of holding the criminals responsible."

Ambrose said the State Supreme Court has a history of ruling against the taxpayers of the state, claiming judges in Iowa and the state supreme court aren't holding criminals accountable enough for what they're doing. He said cities continue to throw money at the issue of crime, but he says it's not getting any better. The crime is getting worse, he said.

"I think to find out where the results were, people have got to go back," Ambrose said. "They've got to go back 50 years and look at how successful the court system and the penal system was in the state of Iowa, That's where we should start. We shouldn't try to redo the wheel."

Ambrose says the courts are putting habitual offenders back on the streets, claiming it's having a negative impact on them and the kids who are doing what's right at a young age. Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch brought up the idea of a new juvenile assessment center in Davenport just last month. Ambrose said the building could be a waste of taxpayer dollars.

"Redo the wheel, build another bureaucracy to deal with a minimal amount of juvenile criminals. I think that's the wrong way to go."

Ambrose says if lawmakers and Governor Kim Reynolds aren't willing to address this issue, crime like car thefts in our area, will continue to go up. Ambrose's term ends this year, but he says he plans on running again. 

The state supreme court and Mayor Klipsch have not commented on the remarks, but the Iowa Department of Corrections did saying, "It's important that all stakeholders...work together with members of the community to address crime concerns...Around 95 of those incarcerated in corrections institutions will one day return to their community, and working to transform them into successful, contributing members of society is a top priority."

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