By Dan Kauble, Coralville
Coralville City Councilmember Tom Gill’s resignation over controversial comments regarding Black Lives Matter has left a void in the city government which will be filled by a special election on Tuesday, Sept. 29. One of the major contenders for Gill’s seat is Barry Bedford, Coralville’s retired police chief of over 30 years. Under his leadership, the Coralville PD was built into an organization that disproportionately stopped, cited and arrested minority residents; as reported in July, Black residents accounted for 51 percent of arrests in 2019 despite only making up 12 percent of Coralville’s population.
Such over-policing is one of the most pressing issues facing our community, and Bedford’s solution to it (which, he told the Press Citizen, centers on “building trust” between the department and local residents) is more than inadequate: it betrays the fact that he failed to make the Coralville Police Department different from other troubled departments across the county, despite having over 30 years to do so. Coralville’s current policing problems can be traced directly back to Barry Bedford’s leadership, and electing Bedford to Coralville City Council will not solve them.