Capitol Notebook: Iowa Criminal Investigation Official Heads State’s Office of School Safety

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In addition, the new line 988 for suicide prevention is launched on Saturday

DES MOINES — Don Schnitker, a special agent with the Iowa Criminal Investigations Division’s Major Crimes Unit, has been named to head the newly created Iowa School Safety Bureau.

The bureau is responsible for examining ways to protect Iowa schools, including from active shooter incidents. It was created by Gov. Kim Reynolds, who recently infused the office with $100 million in federal funding for pandemic relief.

“Schnitker’s strong leadership skills and extensive law enforcement experience will be extremely beneficial to the bureau while utilizing innovative technology, providing training and conducting intelligence oversight,” Reynolds said in a statement. a press release from the State Department of Public Safety. “I am confident that the Governor’s Office of School Safety will be an excellent resource for our schools and local law enforcement partners while helping to protect our most precious and treasured assets – our children.”

Schnitker worked for the state’s Criminal Investigation Division for 17 years and helped found the Iowa Child Abduction Response Team.

SUICIDE PREVENTION LINE: The 988 suicide prevention line will launch on Saturday, the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services announced. The 988 line is a nationwide program overseen by the Federal Communications Commission.

Iowans who call or text 988 will be connected directly to counselors trained in crisis management and de-escalation, who can connect Iowans to the services and supports they need, the Department of Health said. State.

“The nationwide launch of 988 coincides with the important work we have done here in Iowa since I took office to strengthen and improve our historically fragmented crisis response system,” the Iowa Governor said. , Kim Reynolds, in the press release from the state health department. “Iowa families – all families – should have quick and easy access to needed mental and behavioral health care resources when they need them, and 988 will serve as the one-stop resource that Iowans can use if needed.”

The state health department also highlighted the state’s Your Life Iowa program, which provides free, anytime support to anyone dealing with mental health issues, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse or problem gambling.

THE JUDGE CONFIRMED: Judge Stephen Locher, of Des Moines, has been confirmed by the US Senate to a lifetime appointment as a federal judge in the Southern District of Iowa.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Locher’s confirmation was a “rare” unanimous endorsement from the entire Senate.

“Judge Locher represents the best and the brightest in our legal community, and it was an honor to work with him through his rapid confirmation process,” Grassley said in a press release. “Drawing on years of experience in civil and criminal law, Judge Locher understands the proper role of a judge, and I am confident he will apply the law as written.”

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, also added her praise and congratulations in the press release.

Locher has served as a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Southern District of Iowa since 2021, and previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District Office. Locher is a graduate of Harvard Law School and earned his bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame University.

GRASSLEY HONORED: U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, received the National Corn Growers Association President’s Award for his leadership and advocacy for corn growers and agriculture, the group announced.

Senator Charles Grassley

“Sen. Grassley has spent his career advocating on behalf of corn growers,” Chris Edgington, president of the National Corn Growers Association and St. Ansgar farmer, said in a press release. take a stand on regulations that are hard on farmers, to advance agricultural exports through trade, or to support legislation that will expand access to higher blends of ethanol, we would not have achieved the political successes that we have achieved over the years without the contributions of the senior senator from Iowa.

Des Moines Gazette Office

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