Statement from Mayor Steven Gaer regarding the death of George Floyd
As Mayor of the City of West Des Moines, I know our community is profoundly affected by the senseless death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The impact of such a heartless and brutal event is devastating, especially for people who have been victimized by the ugly and often deadly forces of racism and hatred in our society.
The video of this tragic incident is horrifying to watch. It is completely understandable for anyone – especially individuals of color – to question whether a situation like this could happen here and if we’re taking steps as a City to identify and eliminate racism.
I want everyone to know that we do not tolerate racism of any kind in West Des Moines. All individuals who live, work or visit our community should expect to be treated fairly and with the utmost respect by our public safety professionals.
Over the last several years, our West Des Moines Police Department and City employees have participated in extensive diversity training that allows us to examine the many ways systemic racism lives in our communities and how unconscious bias and privilege influence behavior. A significant part of our work involves a deeply personal commitment on the part of our Police Department to develop relationships and participate in outreach programs that increase trust with marginalized community members.
West Des Moines elected leaders, City staff, and our Police Department are committed to providing exceptional service in a safe, fair and equitable manner.
Respect, inclusion, trust and open dialogue are essential components of our efforts to protect and serve everyone in West Des Moines.
I want to thank all our residents for sharing your concerns and observations with me. I am always willing to continue this important discussion and work together to ensure everyone feels safe in our community.
Steven K. Gaer, Mayor
City of West Des Moines