The Des Moines Register, Saturday, April 4, 1998, Page 1M

As arrests become more violent,
where will scrutiny lie?


   The Des Moines police chief is looking like a man who is too cautious to make the tough decisions.
    It took seven months for William Moulder and his staff to review a video of three officers arresting a suspect after a high-speed chase - one cop stomped on the guy - and decide the stomper should be suspended for one day.
    The week County Attorney John Sarcone said he's stepping in to see if any laws were broken in the arrest.  And Mayor Preston Daniels and some City Council members want Moulder to explain how he disciplines officers.
    Daniels downplayed the matter, saying he just wanted to know how the process works.
    The Sarcone move is particularly interesting because the county attorney - with the investigation over, the punishment dished out - could have stayed out of it.
    So why get involved?
    Sarcone told Register reporter Jeff Zeleny this week: "I have some questions about it.  What was shocking to me was the individual stepping on the guy."
    Inside the police department, anger is continuing to build.  Union chief Vincent Valdez said he personally thinks Sarcone is being pressured to get tough with the cops.
    And Valdez says it's going to get a lot worse.
    "The people we arrest are becoming increasingly violent, hard to handle, crazy on meth.  I've been on arrests where I was scared....  And these arrests are going to be bringing more and more scrutiny."
    "I'm just concerned we're not gonna get the support we need."

Reporter Rob Borsellino can be reached
or (515) 284-8102.

The Des Moines Register
Saturday, April 4, 1998, Page 1M