Iowa Department of Public Safety
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
www.dps.state.ia.us

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For immediate release: Alex Murphy
  Public Information Officer
Investigative Operations
Iowa Department of Public Safety
Thursday, July 1, 2010 amurphy@dps.state.ia.us
(515) 443-3014 - cell
(515) 725-6189 - office

‘ED THOMAS BILL’ FORM NOW
AVAILABLE FOR IOWA LAW ENFORCEMENT

Des Moines, IOWA --- Effective July 1, 2010, Iowa Code Section 229.22 requires notification of a specified law enforcement agency prior to discharge of a patient brought to a hospital for emergency mental health treatment by a law enforcement agency for whom an arrest warrant has been issued or charges are pending.  This form provides law enforcement and hospitals a standardized process to make notifications prior to discharge of a person who is wanted by law enforcement officers.

The new notification process is the result of what is commonly referred to as the “Ed Thomas Bill”. On June 24, 2009, Aplington-Parkersburg High School football coach Ed Thomas was shot and killed by former student Mark Becker. Becker had just been released from a hospital, where he was being treated for mental illness. Becker was wanted by law enforcement authorities on criminal charges, but he was not taken into custody because law enforcement officers didn’t know he had been released from the hospital. Hours later, Coach Thomas was shot and killed.

SF 2352 of 2010, the “Ed Thomas Bill” requires the Iowa Department of Public Safety to develop a form for notification of law enforcement upon discharge. This form must be utilized for a notification request by a law enforcement officer, and may be utilized in conjunction with a court order.

This form may only be used to make notification prior to discharge of persons admitted for evaluation or treatment using the emergency procedure specified in Iowa Code Section 229.22. A facility or hospital that has been notified by a peace officer of the requirement to make notification prior to discharge by delivery of the form, that does not notify the law enforcement agency about the discharge, is subject to a civil penalty as provided in Iowa Code section 805.8C.

 

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To enroll in the DPS E-mail Notification system simply log on to https://dpsemailnotify.iowa.gov and follow the instructions to enroll as a new user.