After violence occurs in our community, what’s next?

After violence occurs in our community, what’s next?

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.

And that’s no comment on this weekend’s fatal shooting of one Riverdale resident by another. That matter, the first murder in our community that I know of, is in the capable hands of the Scott County Sheriff’s department. There’s also plenty of news coverage (KWQC-TV   |  WQAD-TV  |  Quad-City Times), so there’s no need here to go into the details surrounding the chain of events.

But a recent comment on one of the City’s news stories summed up the feeling of concern I’ve heard from a number of residents:

“It saddens me to hear about the shooting-murder in Riverdale. The only shooting i remember was my dad shot and killed a rabid skunk in Rex Concannon’s driveway when dad was town marshal! We are truly living in the end days, of no respect for life! God help us all!”

– Dennis Speth

So, what can be done to address the fear and concern in our community that serves as a kind of “emotional hangover” from the event itself?

Things we can do to make Riverdale a more secure community

We’ve come a long way from the days when running the stop sign at the top of Manor Drive, chasing teenagers out of our parks after dark or dispatching the occasional rabid skunk were our most pressing problems. Riverdale is in the unusual position of being a very small city in the middle of a relatively large metropolitan community.

It can be the best of both worlds … and sometimes, the worst of both.

Challenges facing law enforcement and public safety officials are different when you talk about large communities and small towns. And somehow, Riverdale needs to manage a path between the two.

But in my research, the answers I’ve found all seem to point to finding ways for citizens to engage more directly with law enforcement and with each other as a key to creating a safer community. In Riverdale, we rely on the Scott County Sheriff’s office to provide support when crimes occur. Bettendorf PD may be available to respond to an urgent request (as they did last weekend), but Riverdale is in the jurisdiction of the county sheriff.

If fire or a medical emergency occurs in our city, we have a great, volunteer fire department that is able to respond. But in many cases, they’ll show up along with the Bettendorf Fire Department since the two departments work so closely together (it often works the same way for Bettendorf fires).

So how do we engage with these professionals (and highly skilled volunteers)? When it comes to finding ways to help communities connect with their public safety personnel, some of the ideas I’ve discovered include:

•  Increasing the effectiveness of neighborhood watch programs by capitalizing on activities that naturally occur in the community – like piggybacking on existing community walking groups or establishing a “Dog Walker Watch” program.

•  Establish a “Coffee with a Cop” program to help individual officers connect with members of the community.

•  Hold a “Coffee, Cars and Cops” annual car show featuring new and classic public safety vehicles.

Another key factor is finding more ways for neighbors to know their neighbors and be aware when tough domestic situations arise. By knowing and responding to a neighbor in need, it’s possible we (as a community) could be helping reduce the possibility of that situation spiraling into violence. It’s not a guaranteed answer, but an act of kindness, compassion and love never hurts.

Finally, knowing what kinds of resources are available to residents in need of financial, legal or mental help assistance is key. I’m working on pulling together information from the county and other resources at the City’s disposal who might be able to provide assistance in each of these areas and hope to add that information to this website in the coming months.

That being said, any thoughts or advice you might be able to share are more than welcome. Please leave your comments below.

Thanks to you all.

Be Aware: Break-ins in Deerbrook reported last night.

Be Aware: Break-ins in Deerbrook reported last night.

For the past two weeks, Riverdale residents have reported seeing unfamiliar cars and pedestrians in the morning hours in the Manor/Circle Drive areas. Although no break-ins have been reported in our city, it appears some criminal activity has now been reported in the Deerbrook neighborhood in Bettendorf (next to Riverdale).

Here is the report from the Bettendorf Police Department:

On Thursday October 24, 2019 during the morning hours officers were dispatched to 5 residences located in the Deerbrook edition in regards to burglaries or attempted burglaries. At this point it appears that 3 residences were entered where items were taken in the 3600 block of Deerbrook Drive, the 3700 block of Deerbrook Drive, and the 3800 block of Brookwood Lane. Also, it appears that 2 attempted burglaries occurred in the 1400 block of Antler Ct. and the 1400 block of White Tail Drive but no entry was made. These all occurred when the residents were present in their homes sleeping. It was only after they had woke up and came downstairs in the morning did they discover and realize that something had occurred.

Entry was gained through ground level windows that were not secured or latched and/or slightly ajar making it obvious they were not secured. In these cases if there was a screen the screen was either cut or removed.

This is a reminder to secure all your doors, garage doors, and windows to your residence along with locking your vehicles.

Please be on the lookout for suspicious activity in your neighborhood and if anyone has information regarding these incidents, they are encouraged to call the Bettendorf Police Department at 563-344-4015, or Crime Stoppers of the Quad Cities at 309-762-9500.

See attached video, provided by a resident, of the possible suspect.

The advice provided by the BPD is sound: please make sure your home and vehicles are fully secured before you turn in for the night. That means all doors, windows and garage doors should be completely closed and locked. Do not leave your keys in your vehicle and if your vehicle is parked outside, do not leave items in the seat where they may entice someone to break a window and take them.

If you see suspicious activity in Riverdale, please call 911. The priority dispatch system will help dispatch the right support vehicles to your home as quickly as possible (depending on the situation).

Thanks to our friends in the Bettendorf Police Department for sharing this information.

If you have any additional information to share or have seen additional suspicious activities in Riverdale you think your neighbors should be alerted to, please leave your name and comments in the space provided, below.

It’s National Fire Prevention Week!

It’s National Fire Prevention Week!

The Riverdale Volunteer Fire Department (RVFD) and the City of Riverdale remind you to make sure you’re prepared to deal with the fire risks in your home and business.

According to a news release from the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), fire departments across the country are joining together with the organization to promote this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!” The campaign works to educate everyone about the small but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe.

NFPA statistics show that in 2017 U.S. fire departments responded to 357,000 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,630 fire deaths and 10,600 fire injuries. On average, seven people died in a fire in a home per day during 2012 to 2016.

“These numbers show that home fires continue to pose a significant threat to safety,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Escape planning and practice can help you make the most of the time you have, giving everyone enough time to get out.

While NFPA and the RVFD are focusing on home fires, these messages apply to virtually any location.

“Situational awareness is a skill people need to use wherever they go,” said RVFD Fire Chief, Floyd Bruns. “No matter where you are, look for available exits. If the alarm system sounds, take it seriously and exit the building immediately.”

 

What you can do to help

The best thing you can do is follow this simple guide on how to make a Home Fire Escape Plan. It’s simple to do, but the time you spend preparing today can save your life (or the life of a loved one) in the future.

Interested in learning more? Check out these handy fact sheets:

•   What you need to know about home fire sprinklers
•   What you need to know about smoke alarms
•   Tips for creating your home escape route

And finally, feel free to share the information below on your favorite social media network (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram) and be sure to tag: #RiverdaleVolunteerFireDepartment or #RVFD!

 

Riverdale firefighters welcome local heroes as they take their “Honor Flight” to Washington, DC.

Riverdale firefighters welcome local heroes as they take their “Honor Flight” to Washington, DC.

Riverdale Firefighters stand under a gigantic US flag at the entrance to the Isle of Capri Casino Hotel in Bettendorf.

Riverdale Firefighters stand under a gigantic US flag at the entrance to the Isle of Capri Casino Hotel in Bettendorf. Riverdale and Bettendorf firefighters created an archway with their ladder trucks under which the veterans and their escorts passed as they went to their pre-flight dinner on September 11, 2019.

Members of the Riverdale Volunteer Fire Department were on hand to welcome some of America’s greatest generation as veterans from WWII and the Korean War prepare to leave the Quad Cities on an Honor Flight to Washington, DC.

The flight, the 49th of its kind originating out of the Quad Cities, occurred on Thursday, September 12th. A pre-flight dinner was held the night before at the Isle of Capris Casino Hotel in Bettendorf. This was the 11th local flight to be sponsored by Hy-Vee.

The 113 veterans were escorted by volunteer guardians and took a one-day tour of our nation’s capital.

Scenes from the event can be found on the Quad-City Times/Bettendorf News website.

RVFD to sell used airpacs to other communities in need of back-ups.

RVFD to sell used airpacs to other communities in need of back-ups.

At the Council’s September 10th meeting, Riverdale Fire Chief, Floyd Bruns, gained City Council approval to sell retired SCBA units to some smaller communities that need back-up air units for their volunteer fire departments.

Chief Bruns explained that smaller departments in the county could not afford to replace their breathing units (like Riverdale did earlier this year) and, as a result, were running short of reliable back-up units to use. 

The Council agreed to have Chief Bruns negotiate the sale of the units and proposed that the funds from the sale would be put into the fire department’s equipment repair and replacement fund. 

Selling the units and designating where the revenues should go will require a resolution of the City Council at a later date (once terms of a sale have been established).

City Council approves bow hunting contract for winter of 2019-20 season.

City Council approves bow hunting contract for winter of 2019-20 season.

At its September 10, 2019 meeting, the City Council of Riverdale approved Resolution #2019-32, a renewal of last year’s agreement with Kingsley Wildlife Management Services to harvest deer as part of the City’s wildlife management program during the 2019-20 deer hunting season. Kingsley provided similar services last year.

The hunt is scheduled to take place this fall and winter. Deer season in Iowa starts on October 12 and runs through January 31, 2020.

According to the resolution under consideration by the City Council (which is similar to previous resolutions), each hunter must:

  • Obtain a Riverdale Hunting Permit (at $0);
  • Successfully complete an Iowa DNR bow hunter safety education course and proficiency test (taken annually);
  • Hunt in designated areas – and obtain permission from the owner of that parcel in advance;
  • Maintain a minimum distance of 100 yards from any residence, occupied building, church, city park, street and/or roadway (other than municipal property or school property);
  • Hunt during approved/designated hours and days;
  • Use proper field dressing techniques and not leave entrails;
  • Possess all licenses or permits required by the State, County or City;
  • Demonstrate compliance wit these requirements when asked;
  • Present harvested animals at the Spruce Hills Drive Fire Station (in Bettendorf) during specified hours.

Let us know if you have any thoughts on this by leaving a comment in the space below.

Are bike riders on the MRT a traffic hazard?

Are bike riders on the MRT a traffic hazard?

Over the past few weeks, we’ve received comments and requests from citizens asking the City to do something about riders on the Mississippi River Trailthe bike path that runs through Riverdale from Bellingham to just past Valley Drive.

The concern is that these bike riders rarely stop at cross streets (like Manor Drive) and could cause or be involved in a traffic accident.

Adding to the concern are the facts that Manor Drive doesn’t intersect the bike trail at a 90-degree angle, making it difficult for cars and bikers to see oncoming traffic and the hill to the east of the intersection with the Scott Community College entrance limits sight lines for motorists.

To the casual observer, both situations seem dangerous.

The City of Riverdale has already posted “Yield” signs at these intersections, but bikers don’t seem to pay attention. The question asked at a recent Council Meeting raised the question of changing those signs to “Stop” signs, but similar signs on the bike trail in Bettendorf (along Devils Glen Road) seem to have no effect.

Would changing the “Yield” signs to “Stop” signs make a difference with regard to legal liability should there be an accident? The City is currently investigating that issue, but the initial research seems to indicate it won’t make a difference.

So, what to do?

What kind of signage would make a difference? Should the City be more aggressive in notifying, educating and possibly citing bike riders who don’t follow the traffic controls?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section, below.

Riverdale fire fighters surpass 1,000 hours of training for 2018

Riverdale fire fighters surpass 1,000 hours of training for 2018

Congratulations to the nearly 30 volunteers in the Riverdale Fire Department. Last Monday’s training exercise pushed twenty of them past 50 hours of intense training this year and moved the balance of the department along the goal of doubling the a state-required standard of 24 hours’ training every calendar year.

According to the department’s Facebook Page, Monday night’s training was search and rescue and communication. The fire fighters we able to reach little over 12 feet by stretching as far as they could.

The firemen’s masks were covered with hoods so they couldn’t see and were forced to communicate with each other to coordinate their actions.

RFD fire fighters meet at City Hall on Monday nights at 6:30 for 2-3 hours of training every week of the year.

Check out the video and photos of our firefighters in action – albeit at floor level:

RFD fires up some “little squirts” at Hy-Vee

RFD fires up some “little squirts” at Hy-Vee

Kudos to the Riverdale Fire Department for the great job they did teaching kids and their families the essentials of fire safety at Hy-Vee last Sunday. Special thanks to all the volunteers.

Follow the Riverdale Fire Department on Facebook to keep up with everything they do!

Riverdale, McCausland and LeClaire Fire Departments use Welch house for training.

Riverdale, McCausland and LeClaire Fire Departments use Welch house for training.

Kudos to Chief Floyd Bruns, Assistant Chief Brian Ballard and the rest of the Riverdale Fire Department for maximizing the training opportunity afforded by burning down the old Welch farm house on State Street. Developer Seth Woods generously gave permission and access to the property for the training fire.

Firefighters from McCausland and LeClaire also participated in the exercise.

You can see video from the training fire as well as other pictures – and keep up on your favorite volunteer fire department – by following the RFD on Facebook.