In 1964, the Iowa Highway Patrol received a request from the Iowa Department of Public Instruction for an officer to instruct first aid at their annual school bus driver's clinics. An officer was assigned to Patrol Headquarters to handle safety education activities and presentations. Because of the numerous requests and positive public acceptance, four additional safety education officers were selected in 1966. A year later, a fifth was added making one safety education officer for each of the then five Patrol areas. In 1969, the Patrol's safety education commitment was expanded to the current number of fourteen officers. Later in 2017, the Safety Education Unit was renamed as the Public Resource Unit it is known as today.
The Patrol believes that enforcement and education are equally important in accomplishing our goal of reducing the loss of lives and the destruction of property. Public Resource troopers play a significant role in the education of citizens. They speak to schools, businesses, service clubs, churches and other groups interested in learning more about law enforcement, traffic safety and crime prevention. These troopers communicate with groups ranging from preschool age to senior citizens. Some of the programs offered by the Public Resource Unit are: Defensive Driving, Occupant Restraint, Traffic Safety, Bicycle Safety, Pedestrian Safety, Winter Driving, Drug and Alcohol Abuse, School Bus Evacuations, Farm Safety, Career Opportunities, Emergency Vehicle Operation, plus many programs addressing crime prevention.
Public Resource troopers are responsible for coordinating and working such annual events as American Legion Boys and Girls State, The Des Moines Sports Show, RAGBRAI, the Iowa State Fair, Old Threshers Reunion, Clay County Fair, Cattle Congress, as well as numerous county fairs throughout the state.
Not only do Public Resource troopers present programs, but they are also involved in identifying and developing new programs that are directed toward the current needs and interests of the people of Iowa. Some of the more recent programs developed are Send Help, Traveling Alone, Distracted Driving, Fatigued Driving, Travel Tips for the Motoring Public, Tips for Recreational Vehicle Operators and Methamphetamine Awareness. In 2019, the Public Resource Unit added 'Seatbelt Convincers' to their program lineup.
These officers are also responsible for inspecting school buses twice each year. This is an important responsibility that helps provide high quality, safe and efficient school transportation services for students throughout the State.
Each year the Iowa State Patrol's Public Resource Unit will present some 5,000 programs to nearly 200,000 people.
Contact the District Offices or the Public Resource trooper in your area directly for further information on services offered. Please plan as far in advance as possible in order to schedule a program on the date of your preference.