DPAC Meeting Minutes - May 4, 2017


Date: May 4, 2017           Location: Iowa Gold Star Museum, Camp Dodge, Johnston, Iowa

Called to Order: May 4th at 1:00 pm

Adjourned: May 4th at 3:20 pm

Voting Members Present: Barb Anderson; Vern Armstrong; Paul Feddersen; Matthew Harkin; Jason Haglund (for Jane Larkin); Bob Larson (for Warren Hunsberger); Steve Lukan;; Jason Sandholdt;.  Non-voting members: Steven Arndt; Flora Schmidt; and Chuck Connors.

Voting Members Absent:  Thomas Bower (excused); (excused); Dave Lorenzen (Excused); Steve Michael (Excused); Jennifer Miller (excused); Katrina McKibbin; Kathy Stone; & Chris Wilson (excused). 

Guests: Patrick Hoye, Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau; Robert Deskin, Iowa State Patrol; Katie Kuehn, Division of Intelligence

Staff: Dennis Wiggins

Welcome and Introductions

Director Lukan called the meeting to order and attendees provided introductions.

Approval of the October 13, 2016 minutes

Motion to approve minutes. Minutes approved.

Impaired Driving

Patrick Hoye, Director of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau briefed the Council on trends in traffic fatalities and impaired driving.  Director Hoye highlighted the following trends:

  • Following three years of lover than average fatalities, Iowa reported a spike of 404 traffic fatalities in 2016 – up from 320 in 2015. 
  • Traffic fatalities are evenly distributed throughout the state. 
  • Approximately 24% of traffic fatalities involve alcohol-impaired drivers.  Nationally that figure is 30%. 
  • The statutory blood alcohol limit in Iowa is .08%.  The average blood alcohol level for Iowa fatalities is .206%. 
  • Including “other drugs” along with alcohol, the percent of traffic fatalities involving impaired drivers increases to 37%. 
  • After alcohol, cannabis, stimulants, and depressants are the most common drugs identified in cases examined by drug recognition experts in Iowa.    
  • Studies conducted on THC impaired driving have been conducted with marijuana containing 3% THC.  According to a Mississippi University study, the average marijuana THC level in the US is 13% and it is 20% in Colorado.  Given the average THC levels in this country, the research on THC impairment may need to be revisited. 

Director Hoye highlighted the following state and local responses to impaired driving:

  • Stakeholders have employed a three pronged approach involving education, enforcement, and public awareness.
  • The Iowa Crime Lab has added capacity to test blood samples from traffic fatalities.  The lab is developing method validations for TCH and other drugs.  
  • A revised state crash form will be released in January which will include the seven major drug categories and will improve data collection.
  • In 2016, 11 new officers were certified as drug recognition experts (DRE).  DRE certification involves extensive training to identify impairment for specific drug types. 
  • A 35-member Impaired Driving Coalition has been formed which has issued 66 recommendations.  Some of those recommendations include;
    • implement the 24/7 sobriety program.  Authorization for the program was recently passed by the Iowa Legislature,
    • strengthen the ignition interlock law,
    • establish alternative transportation messaging in bars,
    • revise the curriculum for the class OWI offenders attended seeking to reinstate their driver license.  Currently first time offenders attend the same 12-hour class as those who have multiple offences, 
  • promote Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) training.  In 2016, 11 ARIDE trainings were held resulting in 230 officers trained, 
  • increase the percent of persons involved in traffic fatalities who are tested for alcohol and drugs.  Currently only about 60% of traffic fatality victims are tested for alcohol and drugs. 

Human Trafficking

Robert Deskin, Sergeant with the Iowa State Patrol assigned to the Division of Intelligence and Katie Kuehn Intelligence Analyst with the Division of Intelligence briefed the council on Human Trafficking in Iowa.  Sergeant Deskin informed the Council that there is a great deal of fluctuation in the statistics reported on Human Trafficking in Iowa and across the country.  The Division of Intelligence is the lead agency for tips referred from the national human trafficking hotline (Polaris).  The Division facilitates the distribution of information to state and local law enforcement as appropriate.  In 2016, the Intelligence Division received and acted on 17 Polaris tips and 4 tips from Iowa agencies. 

Ms. Kuehn described human traffic as a form of modern slavery and indicated that, as an illegal activity it is second only to drug trafficking in profitability.  Ms. Kuehn explained that human trafficking takes two forms – sex trafficking and labor trafficking.  One of the common recruitment practices for traffickers involves addicting young people to drugs.  The average age of initiation to human trafficking for girls is 12-14 years and 11-13 for boys. 

Sergeant Deskin noted system impediments which minimize collaboration between social service providers and law enforcement – especially for adult victims who often refuse to involve the criminal justice system.  Work is underway to enhance communication between human service providers and criminal justice stakeholders to optimize service delivery for victims while referring trafficking complaints to law enforcement. 

Agency/Organization Updates

Steve Lukan: The legislative session resulted in a number of bills addressing drug and criminal justice issues.  Director Lukan highlighted the following legislative actions: add a number of drugs to the controlled substance list, provide authority for the Pharmacy Board to add resources for pharmacy based prescription take back and disposal, Drug Endangered Children system enhancements, provide medical examiners access to the Prescription Monitoring Program, authorized the 24/7 sobriety program, and changed mandatory minimums for certain drug offences. 

Director Lukan also noted that the recent National Rx Take Back event resulted in 11,000 pounds of prescription drugs collected by participating Iowa law enforcement agencies in Iowa.

Paul Feddersen:  Opioid seizures are on the increase, especially heroin and fentanyl.  Over the past few years, opioid seizures have migrated from the East coast of Iowa to central and western Iowa.  Iowa has seen a few instances of the highly potent synthetic opioids. 

Barb Anderson:  The Department of Education is implementing Project Aware, which is a program to increase awareness and access to mental health resources.  The Department is utilizing a train-the-trainer model and has trained over 1,600 school staff so far. 

Jason Sandholdt:  Law enforcement is looking to improve the court ordered mental health and substance abuse evaluation process, especially for clients with co-occurring disorders.  Clients are often court ordered to hospital emergency rooms for evaluation.  Hospitals are not well equipped to manage this population which can results in expensive and unproductive outcomes. 

Sheriff Sandholdt also described a need for a referral system which could assist local law enforcement in identifying substance abuse and mental health facilities with open beds.  Discussion was held regarding existing resources.   

Steve Arndt:  Grant funding is coming to an end for the University of Iowa project which has trained doctors, nurses, and physician assistants in the Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) approach. 

The Consortium is writing a grant designed to integrate the referral process from physicians to substance abuse treatment. 

Flora Schmidt:  The Iowa Behavioral Health Association is working with partners to improve the referral process for substance abuse and mental health, especially as relates to criminal justice clients. 

Chuck Connors:  The Counter Drug Program currently employs 30 soldiers, ten of which are analysts working with prevention and law enforcement in the community.  Lt. Colonel Connors indicated that there is an emphasis on Civil Ops (formerly Demand Reduction Project) to support community level coalitions.  The Midwest Counterdrug Training Center continues to support law enforcement and prevention with training. 


Next meeting will be announced at a later time. There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned.