(Editor’s note: The following letter of Quad Cities Interfaith (QCI) has the endorsement of Bishop Thomas Zinkula. Among the other signers are the Social Action Committee of St. Anthony Parish-Davenport and its pastor.)
As signers in support of the Scott County Community ID, we believe its implementation would benefit all residents, businesses, organizations and government entities in the county. We call on Scott County to implement an identification card accessible to all Scott County residents.
In Iowa, a county may issue a Community ID — a verifiable, official photo identification card — that would make aspects of life more accessible to all county residents. A Scott County Community ID would make it possible for county residents to participate in the economic and social life of our county. We can make Scott County a more welcoming and inviting place to all people by providing a basic right that many take for granted: a right to an identity.
Many community members are unable to acquire a traditional form of identification. This ID would be especially beneficial to vulnerable populations, such as citizens returning to the community after incarceration, people experiencing homelessness, people with expired forms of identification unable to travel great distances to renew, elderly people and immigrants.
We all want to feel safe as we go about our daily lives. A Scott County Community ID would benefit law enforcement in keeping the community secure and building trust with community members. People who witness traffic accidents or are victims of crimes are more willing to communicate and cooperate with the police when they have an ID card that they know the police will accept. A Community ID could eliminate time-consuming searches through police databases when a police officer is dealing with someone who is unable to obtain a state-issued ID. The Community ID would provide law enforcement with proof of a person’s identity, which could, under certain circumstances, avoid an arrest and trip to jail. One example is a traffic stop. If the driver does not have a driver’s license but has a Community ID card, the officer has the option to write a citation instead of taking the person to jail. This would save time and resources.
A Scott County Community ID card could be used to:
• Open a bank account
• Confirm one’s identity when using credit cards
• Pick up prescriptions at the pharmacy
• Provide proof of identity for leases and utilities
• Obtain a library card
• Return items to the store
• Report a crime
• Interact with schools, hospitals, civic and community organizations and law enforcement
A Scott County Community ID card would not substitute for a driver’s license. It cannot be used to prove employment eligibility, vote, board an airplane, purchase alcohol or tobacco or enter establishments with age restrictions. We emphasize that it cannot be used by police or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to target individuals.
Other Iowa counties have successfully implemented Community ID programs, such as Johnson, Marshall and Story counties. Community members in Polk County are in the process of asking county officials to implement the Community ID. Scott County can also join in recognizing that everyone in our community has the right to an identity.