DES MOINES, Iowa — A little elbow grease is mending more than cars. “We are being part of the solution and solution based programs are the best,” said Izaah Knox, Executive Director of the Des Moines based non-profit Urban Dreams.
The fifth annual community car checkup in Des Moines North High School’s parking lot offered free tire pressure and fluid checks. It also aims to cut down on pretextual police traffic stops by repairing head and tail lights. “We knew how to fix things what if we can work with somebody to fix lights in advance of anything happening,” said Jim O’Halloran President of O’Halloran Internationl.
The partnership between O’Halloran International, NAPA auto parts, Urban Dreams and the Des Moines Police Department also inspected child car seat safety. Knox said, “Not only inspections but if it is broken we get a new one in their car.”
The event continues to grow even with Covid-19 keeping patrons inside their vehicles thanks to the Polk County Health Department. “This year with Covid-19 we’ve added another twist and we are actually doing flu shots that they can get for free,” said O’Halloran.
Repairing held multiple meanings as many communities and police departments continue mending wounds after marches across the country and right here in Des Moines called for police reform. “If it is reducing the amount of negative interaction between police and the community we want to do that but we also want to promote positive interaction every step of the way,” said Knox.
Police were helping their community better navigate their vehicles through these uncertain times. “We come out here and fill the fluids and replace the wipers but it’s the folks who put those parts in our hands that make this a success,” said Sergeant Paul Parizek with the Des Moines Police Department.
A partnership that’s not asking how bad things may get but instead how good will they become. Knox said, “No matter what kind of the atmosphere in the world is, we still have to do these things to make sure we are moving in the right direction.”
A special grant from Verizon Wireless and the Guardian Project is allowing Urban Dreams to still provide car checkups and safety inspections for anyone who missed the Saturday event. Just visit their location at 6th avenue and Forest.