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The Iowa City Police Log: Life and Strife in a Midwestern College Town (Book)

The Iowa City Police Log:
Life and Strife in a Midwestern College Town

Curated by Christopher Patton

Purchase a Copy

$25

From 2013-2018, Christopher Patton sifted through the mundane traffic stops and noise complaints of the Iowa City police activity log, highlighting the most intriguing entries for an ever-growing following on Twitter and Facebook. The Iowa City Police Log book collected over 10,000 log entries that illuminate the spirit of Iowa City — not only its humor, but also its relationship with race, mental health, and violence. The result is an honest depiction of one community in a myriad of moments, captured through the lens of police interaction.

The full-color first edition of the Iowa City Police Log book was published in October 2020, priced at $40 to include a $5 donation to each of three organizations working to bring about greater equity in the Iowa City community. Over six months, book sales raised nearly $4,000, which was distributed in May 2020 to Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County, Shelter House and United Action for Youth.

Thank you to everyone who purchased a copy and made this contribution possible!

Pictured: Chastity Dillard and Brian Loring of Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County; Mickey Hampton of United Action for Youth; and Christine Ralston of Shelter House, each with Police Log curator Christopher Patton.

A black and white on demand edition of The Iowa City Police Log remains available for $25 via Blurb Books.

Purchase a Copy

Praise for The Iowa City Police Log

“While the Iowa City Police Log is known as a funny Facebook page, the intention of the project is not humor. It uses police calls to expose prejudice, inequality and failures of our community support networks. … If there is a butt to the joke, it’s certainly not the alleged lawbreakers, nor the busybodies making frivolous calls, nor even the police. The subject to be ridiculed is the community at large, all of us who sustain the community’s overreliance on law enforcement through our inability to meaningfully address the problems we send cops to handle for us. … Patton’s book puts crucial messages about society and law enforcement into an ostensibly entertaining package. In that, The Iowa City Police Log: Life and Strife in a Midwestern College Town has an opportunity to reach people who would not otherwise be engaged in the vital discourse over over-policing. It hoists a mirror in front of our community, and the reflection is rarely flattering.”

— Adam Sullivan, The Gazette

“The Iowa City Police Log is destined to take its rightful place alongside the legendary waggish and macabre collected curio books such as Wisconsin Death Trip and Hollywood Babylon in the pantheon of treasured toilet-tank libraries, but would be rightly served on the syllabus of any American Studies program or Nonfiction Workshop worth plunging into crippling, life-long debt to attend.”

— Chris Wiersema, Feed Me Weird Things

“A curator is, ultimately, a story teller, and Christopher Patton is a masterful one at that. Equal parts celebration and indictment of our beloved little village, the calls included in The Iowa City Police Log are hilarious, heartbreaking, and enraging. Oh! And the volume itself is really, really well-designed. Which is to say this: The Iowa City Police Log is the coffee table ethnography you didn’t know you needed.”

— Christine Ralston, Shelter House

“People will be unlikely to read The Iowa City Police Log book straight through, though many will enjoy having the book around the house. It’s an ideal bathroom book for the entertainment of guests or those who have not spent more than a few months in Iowa City. It is interesting what passes for crime in a university town. … Mainly the large numbers of people who are willing to call in the local constabulary the moment they hear or see something which causes the least bit of discomfort. What are the cops for, anyway. ‘I’m calling the cops’. ‘I’m calling 911’. 911 calls for family therapists, for veterinarians, pot smokers, somebody’s mother, lie detectors, and police calls on misdemeanors. People love the idea of 911.”

— Paul Ingram, Emeritus Bookseller, Prairie Lights

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