Law Enforcement Officials Report Accomplishments Of Cedar Rapids Safe Streets Task Force
Contact: Peter Deegan
The Cedar Rapids Safe Streets Task Force has been making Cedar Rapids safer. United States Attorney Stephanie Rose reported the progress of the Safe Streets initiative in a press conference held at the Cedar Rapids Police Department Community Substation in southeast Cedar Rapids.
“The Safe Streets Task Force has helped put several of Cedar Rapids’ most dangerous offenders behind bars,” said Rose. “By focusing on the most worthy criminal targets, the task force has made sure the public’s law enforcement resources have been put to their best and most efficient use.”
In June 2009, following a spike in violent crime in the Cedar Rapids area, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies met to share intelligence regarding local gang activity and to assess the need for a formal task force to combat gang, drug, and violent criminal activity. As a result, the Cedar Rapids Safe Streets Task Force was formed in September of 2009. The task force acts as a repository for gang related intelligence in the Cedar Rapids area and coordinates federal, state and local resources to target the worst and most dangerous offenders in the area.
The task force today is led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and composed of representatives from the Cedar Rapids Police Department and the Sixth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services. Task force personnel work closely with the Drug Enforcement Administration; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; Homeland Security Investigations; United States Marshals Service; Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation; Marion Police Department; Linn County Sheriff’s Office; and Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. Task force cases are prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office and the Linn County Attorney’s Office.
Resources from the Safe Streets Task Force are available to all law enforcement agencies with related investigations, whether or not those agencies are members of the task force.
According to Resident Agent in Charge Michael Kitzmiller of the FBI, “the Cedar Rapids Safe Streets Task Force was modeled after similar task forces that have been effective in other parts of the country since 1992. The Cedar Rapids task force has and is addressing local gang, drug and violent crime by combining federal law enforcement’s national perspective and resources with local law enforcement’s experience and familiarity in the local community.”
According to Acting Cedar Rapids Police Chief Steve O’Konek, “the Safe Streets Task Force has been a valuable resource in combating gang, drug, and violent crime here in Cedar Rapids. Drug dealers, repeat offenders, and people who illegally possess guns can expect their cases will be investigated and prosecuted in a manner that will put them behind bars for the longest prison terms the state or federal systems have to offer.”
The task force’s accomplishments to date include 42 federal and state criminal arrests. In addition, the task force has assisted in solving seven Eastern Iowa bank robberies; identified the perpetrator of two homicides in Chicago; identified a witness to another Chicago homicide; and assisted other area law enforcement agencies in homicide, robbery, and aggravated assault investigations.
In recent weeks, the task force’s work has resulted in the following matters in federal court in Cedar Rapids:
● On May 17, 2012, Maurice Jones, age 44, from Cedar Rapids, was convicted by a jury of one count of being a felon in possession of firearm. Police found the loaded handgun after responding to a report of shots being fired in the 1400 block of Fourth Avenue Southeast in Cedar Rapids. Jones had previously been convicted of eight felony offenses in Cook County, Illinois. After moving to Iowa in 2004, Jones was convicted four times of assault. The case file number is CR 11-59.
● On June 5, 2012, Howard Lee Cooks, age 33, was indicted on two counts of distribution of crack cocaine and one count of being a felon in possession of a .45 caliber pistol. According to allegations in the Indictment, Cooks was previously convicted in Cook County, Illinois, of felony possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. Cooks first appeared in federal court on June 12, 2012, and has been ordered detained pending trial. The case file number is CR 12-47.
● On June 5, 2012, Germaine Perry, age 38, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, pled guilty to one count of possession of a stolen .38 caliber revolver. Just after 11:00 p.m. on December 28, 2011, Perry’s vehicle was stopped by police in Cedar Rapids for speeding. During the course of the traffic stop, officers found a loaded .38 caliber revolver under a towel on the driver’s seat. The handgun had been reported stolen in October 2011. Perry had previously been convicted in Cook County, Illinois, of robbery in 1991 and 1999, and in Linn County, Iowa, of delivery of a controlled substance in 2009. Perry has been ordered detained pending sentencing. The case file number is CR 12-16.
● On June 12, 2012, Lashaun Maurice Perry, age 36, from Cedar rapids, Iowa, was charged by criminal complaint with being a felon in possession of a firearm. According to allegations in the complaint, Perry purchased a .38 caliber handgun at a Cedar Rapids gun show and was in possession of the firearm on June 8, 2012. The complaint alleges Perry has prior felony convictions from Cook County, Illinois, for possession of a controlled substance, manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance, and burglary. Perry first appeared in federal court on June 12, 2012, and was detained pending further proceedings. The case file number is 12-MJ-117.
As with any criminal case, a charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.