Wednesday, May 18, 2022

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Civic Skinny

How the cops use those 396,000 bullets. How Kim Reynolds handcuffs Tom Miller.


In 2019, Des Moines police officers responded to 202,000 calls. Twice, officers fired their guns in the line of duty. Each time, the officers were fired upon first.

So why does the police department need to spend $99,029.76 for 396,000 rounds of ammunition for the next 12 months? What does the department do with the 395,990-some bullets not fired in the line of duty?

The proposed expenditure led to a Zoom-noisy City Council meeting last month, a meeting where a couple of dozen people — including leaders of the local Black Lives Matter movement — voiced some pretty strong objections. The meeting got a little testy, compounded by technical problems with Zoom, and it ended without a Council vote when Zoom went silent.

Some protesters then gathered outside the west-side home of Mayor Frank Cownie, but nothing really happened, and everyone went home. Later in the week, the council met in an 11-hour session, and among other things it unanimously approved the purchase of the ammunition.

But why so much?

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa

Here’s why:

The Des Moines Police Department is authorized to have 372 officers, and all carry guns. Twice a year, they must go to a shooting range — usually the indoor one at the Des Moines Police Academy on Army Post Road or an outdoor one maintained by the Polk County Sheriff — to renew their qualification. Each qualification uses up around 100 rounds — about 75,000 rounds when the department is at full force.

[Example: On command, from 25 yards, shoot three rounds from a prone position, three rounds kneeling and three rounds standing. Then reload. You have 45 seconds to do that. Then you shoot from 15 to 25 yards, seven to 15 yards, five to seven yards, and then at arm’s length. All told, you shoot 50 rounds, and you have 103 seconds to do it. You must hit 40 of the targets for minimum qualification.]

The Tactical Entry Teams — 30 officers — train twice a month, firing around 300 rounds each time. That’s another 216,000 rounds.

The Marksman/Observer Teams — which include about 10 Des Moines officers — also train twice a month, and each person might shoot up to 100 rounds per session. That’s another 2,400 or so rounds.

Then there are the men and women training to be cops at the academy. Somewhere between 15 and 20 persons take that 22 weeks of training. In all, they go through about 100,000 rounds.

That gets us up to around the 396,000 rounds the Council approved the other day.

Officers from nearby jurisdictions also have access to the ammunition under a sharing agreement, and, in fact, share in the costs. The Des Moines Police Academy pays about $37,000 of the $99,000 spent on bullets.

The police use an assortment of pistol, rifle and shotgun ammunition. Police generally carry Glock or Sig Sauer pistols, though some old-timers are still allowed to carry Smith & Wesson .38 Specials, the guns you see FBI agents and the other good guys carrying in old movies and TV shows.

It’s unclear if that explanation will assuage those who oppose the purchase, but in fact virtually every bullet is used in the training of new police or the testing of skills of men and women on the force. Rarely do Des Moines police draw their guns in the line of duty. …

Comings and goings, mostly goings: Paige Windsor, the second-ranking editor at The Des Moines Register, is joining Meredith this month as executive editor of, the digital side of Better Homes and Gardens. She has been at the Register for two years. Register executive editor Carol Hunter says she’ll fill the position but hasn’t gotten a person lined up yet. Tyler Davis, a news reporter, has decamped for the sports department at the Detroit Free Press, also a Gannett paper. And Jake Kurtz, a Register copy editor, has returned home to the Storm Lake Times.

Also, Hunter has named two Register newsroom folks to be the new editors of the Ames Tribune and the Iowa City Press-Citizen, fellow Gannett papers that Hunter oversees. Kelly McGowan now heads the Ames paper, and Zach Thompson the Iowa City paper. McGowan will split her time between Ames and Des Moines, and Thompson will spend one day a week in Iowa City and work the rest of the time out of Des Moines. …

In the last column, Civic Skinny mentioned that Terry Branstad — remember him? — served as governor of Iowa longer than anyone, anywhere in America had served as governor. That prompted a note from Mike Rowley, father of CITYVIEW film critic David Rowley, reminding us that David’s “10th times great-grandfather,…William Bradford of Mayflower fame,” served longer than Branstad. He was governor of Plymouth Colony 1621-33, 1635, 1637, 1639-43 and 1645-56.”

Of course. How could we forget?

Sixty or 70 years ago, an editor once told a young reporter “never say anything was the first, the biggest, the oldest, the longest. As soon as you do, someone will tell you about something or someone that was before your first, bigger than your biggest, older than your oldest and longer than your longest.”

He also added: “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.” …

The other day, some state attorneys general sued President Trump and others to challenge operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller — elected by the people and not appointed by the Governor — wanted the state to join the suit, but Gov. Kim Reynolds stopped him. Under a bizarre agreement with Miller, she had the right to do that.

Last year, the Republican-led legislature passed a bill that would have barred Democrat Miller from joining any so-called multi-state suit — a suit brought by a consortium of attorneys general — unless requested to do so by the Legislature or the Governor. Republican Reynolds was poised to sign it, though some lawyers thought it was questionable under the Iowa constitution. At any rate, Miller and Reynolds struck a deal: She would veto the bill if he gave her the right to overrule him on any multi-state action he wanted to join.

She has used that power to stop Iowa from joining any suit that challenged issues on the Republican social agenda. She has stopped Miller from joining actions seeking to stop draconian laws about abortion, to clear up the environment, to protect student borrowers, to restrict gun sales, and to make life more bearable for refugees, among others.

All told, she has turned town 50 of the 73 requests — a bit more than two-thirds or, more precisely, 68.5 percent.

“Reynolds always takes the side of those who are the haves and not the have-nots,” noted a lawyer who follows the doings in state government.

Miller doesn’t seem too dismayed by the vetoes. “The agreement was a compromise between me and the governor,” he said in a statement, and in a compromise “one doesn’t get everything one wants.” He noted that the agreement will not affect future attorneys general of Iowa, and he added that his colleagues across the country “have been very effective in bringing cases over health care, environment protection, immigration, education, consumer protection and other issues.” The agreement, he said, “has not stopped the filing of any legal actions.”

Here is a list of the 83 lawsuits Miller wanted to join and Reynolds’ response:

Aug. 17. State of Washington et al v Trump, DeJoy et al. Lawsuit to challenge operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service. DECLINED

July 31. Amicus Brief in Casa de Maryland v. Wolf . In support of a stay or injunction of Department of Homeland Security rules that limit employment authorization for asylum seekers. DECLINED

July 27. Amicus Brief in O.A. v Trump in support of lower court decision that nullified a 2018 Trump administration rule that blocked individuals who did not enter the United States through an official “port of entry” from seeking asylum. DECLINED

July 23. State of N.Y. v Trump, Ross, et al. Lawsuit to stop plans to exclude undocumented immigrants from the congressional apportionment base. DECLINED

July 16: Amicus Brief in Lieu v. FEC in support of federal limits on contributions to “Super PACs.” DECLINED

July 13: Amicus Brief in R.J. Reynolds v. FDA in support of federal regulations requiring “graphic image” warning labels on cigarette packaging. CONSENTED

July 10: Amicus Brief in Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. Army Corps of Engineers in support of a stay pending appeal of a lower court’s ruling to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline. CONSENTED

July 9: Massachusetts v U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Lawsuit to halt a new directive that international students can no longer live in the United States and take their classes online. DECLINED

July 6: State of N.Y v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Lawsuit to stop a new rule that would allow health care providers and insurance companies to discriminate against certain groups protected by Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. DECLINED

July 6: Massachusetts v. EPA. Petition for review of the EPA’s determination that it is not necessary to limit mercury and other hazardous air pollutants emitted from power plants. DECLINED

June 29: Massachusetts v. DeVos . Lawsuit opposing the repeal and replacement of the 2016 Borrower Defense Rule, which provided protections for student borrowers who have been misled or defrauded by for-profit schools. DECLINED

June 25: Amicus Brief in Virginia, Illinois, and Nevada v. Ferriero in support of the Equal Rights Amendment. DECLINED

June 19: Amicus Brief in City of Chicago v. Azar in support of a “special enrollment period” allowing people to buy health insurance on Affordable Care Act exchanges during the COVID-19 pandemic. DECLINED

June 11: Pennsylvania v. DeVos . Lawsuit to stop the repeal of the Gainful Employment rule, which provides protections for students at for-profit colleges. DECLINED

June 12: Amicus Brief in Rhode v. Becerra in support of states’ rights to enact reasonable firearm restrictions and defend California’s requirement that gun dealers conduct background checks prior to all ammunition sales and that all ammunition sales occur face-to-face. DECLINED

June 3: Amicus Brief in LaTurner v. United States in support of states’ claims to unredeemed U.S. Savings Bonds. CONSENTED

May 26: Amicus Brief in Young v Hawaii in support of states’ rights to enact reasonable firearm restrictions and defending Hawaii’s laws governing the carrying of firearms in public places. DECLINED

May 13: Amicus Brief in HIAS v. Trump in support of refugee resettlement agencies’ lawsuit to challenge the president’s executive order giving state and local officials the power to block refugees from being resettled in their jurisdictions. DECLINED

May 8: Amicus Brief in Pennsylvania v. Davis in support of a challenge to lower court ruling preventing law enforcement from unlocking an electronic device, even with a warrant. CONSENTED

May 6: State of N.Y. v. EPA . Lawsuit to challenge a final agency policy under which EPA will not enforce a wide range of monitoring and reporting requirements under federal environmental laws in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. DECLINED

May 6: State of N.Y. v. EPA . Petition to challenge Refrigerant Management Rule under the Clean Air Act. DECLINED

April 29: Amicus Brief in Mayor & City Council of Baltimore v. Azar in support of city’s challenge of a rule that bars Title X family planning grantees from providing or referring patients for abortion. DECLINED

April 5: Amicus Brief in Chiafalo v. Washington; Colorado v. Baca in support of states’ arguments to bind presidential electors to the state’s popular vote. CONSENTED

April 3: Amicus Brief in Trump v. Pennsylvania/Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania in support of Pennsylvania and New Jersey’s challenge of rules that authorize exemptions to Affordable Care Act’s birth-control mandate. DECLINED

April 3: California v. EPA . Lawsuit to oppose the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) rule, a proposal to roll back the greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for model year 2021-2026 passenger cars and light trucks. DECLINED

March 27: Amicus Brief in State of Arizona ex rel. Brnovich v. Board of Regents to join current and former attorneys general in supporting the powers of the Arizona attorney general to represent the state as chief legal officer and sue the regents over a tuition increase. DEFERRED (Governor did not see this as requiring her approval and did not object, as the brief was by current and former AGs, not states.)

March 27: Amicus Brief in Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial District and Ford Motor Co. v. Bandemer in support of rulings by Montana and Minnesota Supreme Courts over whether a state court may exercise specific personal jurisdiction over a non-resident corporation that marketed its product in the state, but where those contacts did not cause the plaintiff’s claims. CONSENTED

Feb. 27: Amicus Brief in National Pork Producers Council v. Ross in support of the plaintiffs’ challenge to California’s Proposition 12, which bans the sale of veal, pork, and eggs from animals not raised in accordance with that state’s animal-confinement regulations. CONSENTED

Feb. 27: Amicus Brief in Trump v. Vance in support of respondent over whether a grand-jury subpoena served on a custodian of the president’s personal records violates Article II and the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. DECLINED

Feb. 25: Amicus Brief in Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants in support of the federal ban on robocalls. CONSENTED

Feb. 24: Amicus Brief Supporting Plaintiffs in U.T. v Barr in support of plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment against a rule barring humanitarian relief for asylum seekers from Northern Triangle countries. DECLINED

Feb. 24: Amicus Brief in Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association in support of the plaintiff supporting Arkansas’s statute regulating drug-reimbursement rates set by pharmacy benefit managers, which is similar to laws enacted by a substantial majority of the states. CONSENTED

Feb. 14: Amicus Brief in Preterm-Cleveland v. Himes in support of plaintiff in challenge to Ohio law prohibiting abortions with prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. DECLINED

Feb. 4: Amicus brief in Al Otro Lato v. Wolf in support of preliminary injunction blocking Homeland Security from applying the Third Country Transit Rule to asylum seekers who made a claim before July 16, 2019. DECLINED

Feb. 2: Amicus Brief in MRNY v. Pompeo in support of preliminary injunction to block new rules to deny green cards and visas to immigrants who are likely to use government assistance programs in the future. DECLINED

Feb. 2: Amicus Brief in John Doe #1 v. Trump in support of preliminary injunction blocking a presidential proclamation barring immigrants from receiving visas unless they will be covered by health insurance. DECLINED

Jan. 27: Amicus brief in FTC v. Credit Bureau Center. Whether Section 13(b) of the FTC Act authorizes district courts to enter an injunction that orders that the defendants return unlawfully obtained funds to victims. CONSENTED

Jan. 17: Amicus brief in Planned Parenthood v Parson in support of overturning Missouri law that makes it a crime to perform an abortion at or after 8, 14, 18, or 20 weeks of pregnancy. DECLINED

Jan. 17: Amicus Memo in Seila Law v. CFPB in support of the respondent, over whether vesting of substantial executive authority in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau violates the separation of powers. DECLINED

Jan. 15: Amicus Brief in Liu v. SEC. in support of the respondent and appeals court ruling holding that the Securities and Exchange Commission possesses the authority in civil actions to seek disgorgement of money acquired through fraud. DECLINED

Jan. 13: Amicus Brief in Lomax v. Ortiz-Marquez in support of respondent, arguing that a dismissal without prejudice for failure to state a claim counts as a strike under the federal law allowing in forma pauperis lawsuits by prisoners. CONSENTED

Jan. 13: Amicus brief in Allegheny Defense Project v FERC in support of petitioner, arguing that FERC’s practice of issuing tolling orders, thereby forestalling judicial review while pipeline construction gets underway, violates the Due Process Clause. DECLINED

Dec. 30, 2019: Amicus Brief in Little Rock Family Planning Services v. Rutledge in support of plaintiffs to overturn Arkansas abortion bans. DECLINED

Dec. 19: Amicus Brief in Saget v. Trump in support of plaintiffs to oppose terminating temporary protective status for Haitians. DECLINED

Dec. 16: Amicus Brief in Massachusetts v. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in support of petitioner to stay NRC’s decision in the decommissioning of a power plant. CONSENTED

Dec. 10: Amicus Brief in Organic Trade Association v. USDA in support of defendants’ motion for summary judgment and decision to withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule before it took effect. CONSENTED

Dec. 9: Transportation Workers v. Federal Railroad Administration in support of the petitioners in four consolidated cases related to train crew staffing requirements and the preemption of state safety standards. DECLINED

Dec. 9: State of Washington et. al. v. U.S. Department of State. Multistate lawsuit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to halt rules deregulating 3-D printed guns. DECLINED

Dec. 9: Amicus brief in Impax v. FTC in support of the respondent’s decision regarding “pay-for-delay” agreements between brand drug companies and generic rivals. CONSENTED

Dec. 9: Amicus brief in Brackeen v. Bernhardt in support of defendants to preserve the Indian Child Welfare Act in regard to adoptions. CONSENTED

Nov. 19: Amicus brief in Weingarten v. U.S. Department of Education in support of student borrower plaintiffs who allege that errors led to denials under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness law. DECLINED

Nov. 18: Amicus brief in Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board in support of plaintiff alleging discrimination over school’s policy denying transgender students access to common restrooms. DECLINED

Nov. 13: Amicus brief in Minnesota v. CenturyLink in support of the Minnesota attorney general and against CenturyLink’s argument that a state attorney general cannot pursue restitution against a defendant once private litigants settle their claims against the same defendant. CONSENTED

Oct. 11: Amicus brief in Regents of the University of Minnesota v. LSI Corp. in support of the Regents over whether inter partes review proceedings challenging a patent’s validity brought by private respondents against a state university or government are barred by sovereign immunity. CONSENTED

Oct. 2: Amicus brief in East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Barr in support of preliminary injunction enjoining rule that, with limited exceptions, bars asylum to any applicant who transited through a third country but did not apply for and fail to obtain humanitarian protection there. DECLINED

Oct. 2: Amicus brief in State of Vermont v. Max B. Misch in support of restrictions on large-capacity ammunition magazines. DECLINED

Oct. 1: Amicus brief in Jackson Women’s Health Organization v. Dobbs in support of overturning Mississippi law making it a criminal offense to perform an abortion if a “fetal heartbeat” is detected, thereby banning abortions beginning at approximately 6 weeks of pregnancy. DECLINED

Oct. 1: First Amended Complaint in California v. Elaine Chao in support of California’s challenge to NHTSA preemption regulation on greenhouse emission standards for cars and zero emission vehicles. DECLINED

Oct. 12: Amicus brief in EMW Women’s Surgical Center v. Meier in support of overturning Kentucky statute that prohibits physicians from providing second-trimester abortion services. DECLINED

Sept. 11: Amicus brief in North Dakota v. Purdue Pharma in support of North Dakota’s appeal of summary judgment in opioid lawsuit. CONSENTED

Aug. 27: Amicus brief in Pennsylvania v. Navient defending the states’ vital ability to enforce state and federal consumer protection laws against student loan servicers. CONSENTED

Aug. 18: Amicus brief in Whole Woman’s Health Alliance v. Hill in support of overturning Indiana’s abortion law. DECLINED

Aug. 15: Amicus brief in Make the Road New York, et al. v. McAleenan. Re: Expedited removal process for immigrants. DECLINED

Aug. 8: Amicus brief in N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n v. City of N.Y. Re: Transportation of firearms. DECLINED

July 25: Amicus brief in Grace v. Barr. Re: asylum protections. DECLINED

July 16: As plaintiff in New York v. EPA. Re: EPA’s ACE Rule, which repeals the Clean Power Plan. DECLINED

July 16: Amicus brief in Union of Concerned Scientists v. Wheeler. Re: EPA’s restrictions on who can serve on its science advisory boards. DECLINED

July 15: Amicus brief in Duncan v. Becerra. Re: California’s law banning possession of large capacity magazines. DECLINED

July 5: Amicus brief in Flores v. Barr. Settlement Agreement and health and safety standards for the facilities in which immigrant children are confined. DECLINED

July 3: Petition and consent decree, U.S. DOJ v. Lehigh Cement Co. Re: settlement for alleged air pollution violations. CONSENTED

July 3: Amicus brief in Mueller v. City of Joliet. Re: coverage under Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act for National Guard duty. CONSENTED

June 14: Complaint and multistate settlement with Endo. Re: alleged anticompetitive conduct (pay-for-delay agreements) for the purpose and effect of obstructing generic competition for the branded drug Lidoderm. CONSENTED

June 11: Amicus briefs in Bostock v. Clayton County, Ga.; Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda; and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. Equal Opportunity Employment Comm’n. Re: whether Title VII prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. DECLINED ♦


  1. Merle Walter says:

    The reason Covid Kim is the lowest rated Governor in the US. Tom Miller has more integrity in his little finger than she has in her body. She is for the haves for sure. Learned that from ex-Ambassador Branstad, “Rat’s deserting a sinking ship”. She was pro-choice all of her life before Branstad

  2. Merle Walter says:

    Covid Kim is definitely for the haves, as most Republicans are She has failed in the Pandemic from lack of leadership, and with the Derecho. She was overwhelmed.. Tom Miller has more integrity in his little finger, than she has in her body. One of the biggest hypocrites in Iowa government ever. She was pro-choice her entire life before Branstad. And he is deserting the Trump sinking ship

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