HomeTop StoriesThe Iowa Youth Center called police nearly a thousand times in three...

The Iowa Youth Center called police nearly a thousand times in three years before the teen killed an employee

Minneapolis law enforcement is expanding a new early youth intervention program

Minneapolis law enforcement is expanding a new early youth intervention program


Police say officers have responded nearly 1,000 times in the past three years to a youth treatment center in Iowa where an employee was killed by a 15-year-old resident.

Kathleen Galloway-Menke was attacked on May 8 in downtown Ellipsis Iowa. Her family’s lawyer, Trever Hook, said the 50-year-old mother of two daughters suffered brain damage and died on Tuesday after life support was removed.

Galloway-Menke had been working at Ellipsis for a year. Hook questioned whether the facility provides adequate training for staff who deal with sometimes dangerous customers.

The 15-year-old had a history of violence and had made previous threats against Galloway-Menke, Hook said. He wasn’t sure what prompted these threats.

In a statement to The Associated Press, Ellipsis said employees are “thoroughly trained in de-escalation techniques and ways to safely handle various situations.”

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Ellipsis was created in August 2021 when two nonprofits merged. According to its website, it serves more than 750 youth and their families every day with residential care and treatment, counseling and other services. Youth housed at the facility in the Des Moines suburb of Johnston are there by court order, the organization said in a statement to the AP.

According to data released by the Johnston Police Department, the nearly 1,000 police calls to the center included 676 for runaways and 72 reported assaults. Last year alone, there were 251 reported runaways and 31 assaults, among a total of 382 police calls to the center.

In a statement to AP, Police Chief Dennis McDaniel did not criticize Ellipsis.

Police and Ellipsis officials have met regularly “on issues, challenges and community concerns arising from the increasing service needs of youth placed on the Johnston campus,” he said. “Ellipsis leadership is open to feedback and remains actively involved.”

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Ellipsis officials declined interview requests but said in the statement that the May 8 attack was “an isolated and tragic outcome.” The organization said it is working with the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services “to add additional safety and security measures to our facilities to protect both youth and staff in addition to our community.”

The night Galloway-Menke was injured, the teen had left the center without permission. Galloway-Menke and another employee followed him but kept their distance — protocol established by Ellipsis, Hook said. A supervisor and other employees also went outside but stayed further back, he said.

Suddenly, Hook said, the teen turned and sprinted across the street, past the other employee, and straight to Galloway-Menke. He pushed her and her head hit the concrete, Hook said.

“She flew backwards and landed on her head,” Hook said. Galloway-Menke underwent emergency brain surgery, but doctors determined she would not recover, he said.

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Ellipsis said its policy insists that staff keep a close eye on runaways “as closely as possible until local law enforcement arrives so that we can keep law enforcement informed and minimize the potential harm to youth or anyone else in the community.” minimum.” The organization said it believes staff acted as safely as possible after the 15-year-old left the centre.

although youth center employees typically work with young people who could be dangerous; deaths are rare. In 2016, 60-year-old employee Jimmy Woolsey was attacked from behind by a 17-year-old at a ranch that served as a youth center in southern Utah. Woolsey died from blunt force head injuries.

Galloway-Menke worked as a special education assistant in the Johnston School District for 25 years before taking the job at Ellipsis, Hook said. Her death was devastating for her daughters, aged 20 and 25.

“They have a very close bond with their mother,” Hook said.

Police said the 15-year-old will face criminal charges for the attack.

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