Davenport Police Chief Paul Sikorski told city council members Wednesday that finding 10-year-old Breasia Terrell is the department’s top priority.
“This has been our priority for the last five days, and it will continue to be until we find her,” he told the council Wednesday during the Committee of the Whole meeting.
Breasia was reported missing early Friday morning.
Sikorski said the department was finally able to issue an Amber Alert late Tuesday into early Wednesday after new intelligence was obtained that finally met the criteria for issuing such an alert.
Also, there is now an intelligence room at the Davenport Police station that is staffed by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.
Members of the FBI’s task force are relaying information from the case to the Bureau’s behavioral analysis unit.
Also, Sikorski said, “We have a coordinated search party that’s out now coordinating with other agencies in a different county searching.”
He added, “I would really love to give you every piece of information that we have.” But to do so could compromise the investigation.
“I apologize for that,” he said. “Everybody wants to know if we’re doing enough. We’re doing everything possible we can do.
“We’ve had great cooperation, and the community has been absolutely amazing,” Sikorski said.
Beginning Thursday, the Scott County Emergency Management Agency will help to organize volunteers when the police identify specific areas to search, he said.
Volunteers can check the city’s and police department’s Facebook pages and websites
Sikorski said police had been in daily contact with Breasia’s mother, Aishia Lankford.
“We have people in contact with her, and we talked to her today.”
He added that he will try to keep everyone updated as best he can as long as the information “doesn’t impede the investigation.”
Davenport Alderman Patrick Peacock, 7th Ward, told the council and Sikorski that he has concerns over the perceptions with the city specifically involving the disappearance of Breasia.
“The perception is that if a young white girl goes missing the whole city seems to go on lockdown," Peacock said. “Everybody and their mother seems to care.
“But when a young black girl is missing it seems no one cares,” he said. “So what I’m asking is what can we do to better paint the picture that, yes we are doing the best we can as a city, and what we can tell not only the people but that family that we are doing our best as a city.”
Sikorski said he understood that “emotions are running high.”
“But the one goal is to find Breasia,” he said. “I understand that people, when they don’t hear all the things that are being done behind the scenes, it can seem like that not enough is being done.
“I can assure you that Breasia is our No. 1 priority as an agency,” he said. “Yes we still have to go out and handle 911 calls as an agency.”
But the department has committed all of its resources into finding Breasia, he added. “All of the investigators in the detective bureau are working the case, “tirelessly throughout the days and nights.”
With the help of the FBI, Scott County Sheriff’s Office, Division of Criminal Investigation, “We’re using all of the assets we have available to this city and beyond,” Sikorski said.
“She is our priority,” he said of Breasia.
“There has been an outpouring of help from the community,” Sikorski said. “Our community has come out and is all-in in trying to find Breasia. That has been my experience throughout this endeavor. The community has been here and wanting to help.”
Peacock said: “There is an undercurrent in the African-American community and what I try to do when I go out there is tamper those angers. But if we’re not painting a picture that we’re doing our best as a city then all we’re doing is fueling that fire.
“What I hope is that we do a better job of painting a picture that we’re doing the best we can, and if we’re not, how can we as a city council do our jobs and assist you so we can help the family that’s grieving right now,” Peacock told Sikorski.
“I want to change that picture, as well,” Sikorski said.
Peacock said he was letting his fellow council members know what he had been doing the past 72 hours and wanted to alert them about the perceptions, “and how we can address probably a lack of communication. But my job is to aid and assist and provide resources at a time like this because the family needs resources.”
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