Building community, through policing

News | February 19, 2015

Andrew Harris’ first job as a police officer was in the small town of Denison, Iowa. A number of people who call Denison home speak Spanish, so the 22-year-old brushed up on his Spanish skills and got to work getting to know the residents of the community.

It was there he really learned how important a role building relationships was in his chosen career.

Harris“A lot of what I do here in Davenport, I definitely got a good start there,” said Andrew, who is now a sergeant with the Davenport Police Department and a member at St. Paul. “The big push now is community policing. We have to work together with the citizens, work together with the other stakeholders, such as churches and schools, to make our community a better and safer place to live and work in.”

Andrew, a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa who also served in the Marine Corps Reserves, recently finished a time serving with the department’s NETS unit. NETS stands for Neighborhoods Energized to Succeed. Andrew spoke last week at Lutheran Men in Mission, a St. Paul crew that meets regularly for breakfast, fellowship, service, and discussion.

The NETS unit focuses its efforts in a handful of neighborhoods in Davenport, including the 14th and Gaines area, Goose Creek Heights, and downtown Davenport, among others.

One of the efforts of the NETS program is called Weed and Seed – weeding out the not-so-good, seeding the good. Monthly meetings give neighborhood stakeholders a chance to connect and talk about issues in the area.

Andrew’s very first neighborhood meeting was at an organization called the Lydia House – a nonprofit that offers an afterschool program and a network of temporary care for children of families in crisis.

The conversation at the meetings could be about small things like overgrown grass at an abandoned house, shoes on top of power lines that look awful, or windows that needed to boarded up, Andrew said. But it’s those small things that add up over time, that if left neglected, add up over time to create bigger problems.

Lydia House also holds a Friday night dinner that anyone is welcome to attend.

“They not only work in the neighborhood, they are the neighborhood,” Andrew said of the people of Lydia House, including director Joyce Klopp.

Lydia House is just one example of people who are working to make neighborhoods strong – United Neighbors and Project Renewal are two other examples, he said. The police department also has police officers in the city’s high schools, and helps with a citywide effort to ensure that rental properties are safe places to live.

“Our number one population is our kids, that’s where we know we can make the most difference,” Andrew said.

In addition to building relationships, Andrew’s job does involve intervening in crisis situations as well.

Andrew, along with three colleagues, were recently awarded the American Legion Law Enforcement Officer Award. The officers worked to find a person who was armed and suicidal, and when they did, they were able to successfully take the person to the hospital for psychiatric evaluation and assistance.

“That is an epidemic in our society right now – the number of suicides and depression we’re seeing,” Andrew said. The police department’s officers undergo training in working with people who have mental health problems, he added, and are stepping up efforts to coordinate with other agencies to try and provide the best solutions possible.

Faith is very important for many of the police officers in Davenport, he said. It keeps Andrew grounded in very difficult circumstances.

“The police department doesn’t get called to a person’s house when their daughter gets straight As, or when someone got a promotion at a job. We see people in crisis at their very worst part. Unfortunately, we’re the bearer of bad news sometimes, knocking at that mother’s door at 3 o’clock in the morning, and telling them their daughter was in a bad car accident and they need to get to the hospital, knowing that child is going to die, or going to find a child who was sexually assaulted…and you just walk out and ask why.”

“But there’s also a lot of good things going on in the community,” he said, specifically mentioning the work of the St. Paul Neighborhood Schools Partnership at Madison Elementary and J.B. Young K-8. “It’s good to be involved with a great church.”

One comment on “Building community, through policing”

  • Jennifer Nesahkluah

    April 6, 2018 at 4:17 am

    Many personal friends of mine; Davenport has long been my city. My prayers will always be with all special civil servants and all community service departments. Thank you NETS

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Daniel 12:1-3

The Time of the End

1“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.2“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.3“Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Psalm 16

1Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.

2I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord;

I have no good besides You.”

3As for the saints who are in the earth,

They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.

4The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;

I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,

Nor will I take their names upon my lips.

5The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;

You support my lot.

6The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;

Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

7I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;

Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.

8I have set the LORD continually before me;

Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;

My flesh also will dwell securely.

10For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;

Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

11You will make known to me the path of life;

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Hebrews 10:11-25

11Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;12but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,13waiting from that time onward UNTIL HISENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.14For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.15And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying,





He then says,



18Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

A New and Living Way

19Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,20by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,21and since we have a great priest over the house of God,22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Christ or Judgment

Mark 13:1-8

Things to Come

1As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples *said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”2And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”

3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately,4“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?”5And Jesus began to say to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.6“Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many.7“When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end.8“For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

Daniel 7:9-14

9“I kept looking

Until thrones were set up,

And the Ancient of Days took His seat;

His vesture was like white snow

And the hair of His head like pure wool.

His throne was ablaze with flames,

Its wheels were a burning fire.

10“A river of fire was flowing

And coming out from before Him;

Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,

And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;

The court sat,

And the books were opened.

11“Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire.12“As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.

The Son of Man Presented

13“I kept looking in the night visions,

And behold, with the clouds of heaven

One like a Son of Man was coming,

And He came up to the Ancient of Days

And was presented before Him.

14“And to Him was given dominion,

Glory and a kingdom,

That all the peoples, nations and men of every language

Might serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion

Which will not pass away;

And His kingdom is one

Which will not be destroyed.

The Vision Interpreted

Psalm 93

1The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty;

The LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength;

Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.

2Your throne is established from of old;

You are from everlasting.

3The floods have lifted up, O LORD,

The floods have lifted up their voice,

The floods lift up their pounding waves.

4More than the sounds of many waters,

Than the mighty breakers of the sea,

The LORD on high is mighty.

5Your testimonies are fully confirmed;

Holiness befits Your house,

O LORD, forevermore.

Revelation 1:-4-8

John 18:33-37

33Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”34Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?”35Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?”36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”37Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”