Des Moines Arrest, Court, and Public Records

Police Records and Arrest Reports

The Des Moines City Police Department with the support of the Polk County Sheriff’s Department has a Records Section that is responsible for receiving, maintaining and archiving police records. It is also charged with serving the public’s need for information pertaining to public records, open records and exclusionary records.

Who Can Obtain a Police Report

Records may be exempted for release if it jeopardizes an individual’s right to privacy. Records may also be exempted if they:

  • Include information that may deprive a person of a fair trial or disclose investigation techniques.

  • Identify juvenile information.

  • Identify victim information.

  • Include sealed/confidential information.

  • Include information that may endanger the safety of a person or witness.

How to Obtain Police Records

The Des Moines Police Department processes requests for public criminal request. Residents can submit a public record request for police records via the Public Records Request. It can be used to request vehicle accident reports, police case reports, OWI reports, dispatch audio records, body camera recording, in-car camera recording and more. Requests should include as much information as possible to aid the search, including the case number (if known), date and location of the incident, and the name of the person(s) involved.

In-person applications can be made at the Records section in the lobby of the Police Station located at 25 East 2st Street. The lobby is open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., every day. Requesters can also send written applications via mail to:

Des Moines Police Department
25 East 1st Street,
Des Moines, IA 50309

How to Request Criminal History Records

The Criminal History Record Dissemination Unit of the Iowa Department of Public Safety provides several options for requesting criminal history information for residents of Des Moines and the rest of the state. Interested parties may request a non-waive criminal history record check using the department's online search platform. A $15.00 fee is charged for this service. Requests can also be submitted in person or via mail by completing a request form to:

Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Name
Support Operations Bureau, 1st Floor
215 E. 7th Street Address
Des Moines, IA 50319

How to Obtain Sex Offender Information

Sex offender information can be accessed through the Polk County Sheriff’s Office website. Individuals can access the portal directly by clicking on the Sex Offenders Registry link. It allows for searches by county name, zip code or name. It also provides a list of all registered sex offenders living within a one-mile radius from a specified address.

How to Obtain Inmate and Jail Information

The Polk County Sheriff’s website maintains an online inmate search resource that county residents can use to locate inmates in any of its county jails. Similarly, the Iowa Department of Corrections provides an online search tool that members of the public can use for statewide searches. Searches can be made by name, offender number, birth date, type of offense and location.

Crime Statistics

The Des Moines Police Department serves as the main law enforcement agency for the city. It compiles and publishes regular citywide crime statistics. According to data released for 2017, the city recorded a total of 11,045 reported incidents, divided into 9, 589 property crimes and 1,456 violent crimes. Larceny-theft accounted for 53.6% of total crimes, while burglaries and auto thefts made up 21.5% and 11.4% respectively. Compared to 2016, the total amount of crimes increased by 8%. Property crimes rose by 10% while violent crimes dipped by 6%. Overall, with 13.93 daily crimes per 100,000 residents, Des Moines was safer than 8% of the cities in the U.S.

How to Obtain Court Records

Part of the Iowa trial court system, the Des Moines County District Court provides online access to case information and records via a web platform. Members of the public can search for cases filed within the city and the rest of the state. Records are regularly updated as entered by the Clerk of Court. In addition, appellate case electronic document or district court case documents may be viewed at a public terminal at the courthouse where the case was filed.

Polk County District Court
500 Mulberry St # 408,
Des Moines, IA 50309

Supreme Court Clerk
1111 E Court Ave #107,
Des Moines, IA 50319

Polk County Criminal Court Division
500 Mulberry St # 201,
Des Moines, IA 50309

Polk County Juvenile Court
222 5th Ave,
Des Moines, IA 50309

Vital Records

Des Moines vital records are processed at the county and state level. This includes birth certificates, death certificates, and records of domestic partnership. In line with state laws, only authorized persons may receive certified copies of a report. Applicants may be restricted from obtaining certified records depending on their eligibility.

How to Obtain Divorce Records

Divorce records for Polk County can be obtained by visiting the Office of the Clerk of Courts where the divorce took place. Certified copies are restricted to only authorized persons, such as the named parties the divorce record, the children, or the parents of the people listed on the record. Applicants will need to call or visit the office in person at:

Clerk of Court
500 Mulberry Street
Room 212
Des Moines, IA 50309

The clerk charge fee $15, and this fee is payable by check or money order. Cash is not accepted. Individuals can also call the office and provide the information required to obtain a cop.

How to Obtain Marriage Records

The Polk County Recorder's Office manages the records of marriages in Des Moines and the rest of the county. Parties looking to obtain a certified copy of marriage certificate will have to either send in a marriage record application via mail or hand it over in person at the office.

Vital Records Division
111 Court Avenue Ste 250
Des Moines, IA 50309-2251

A fee of $20.00 is required for each request. Accepted forms of payment include cash, check, credit card (MasterCard, Visa, Discover) and money order. Requests must state the relationship to the person named on the record and the purpose of the copy.

How to Find Birth and Death Records

The Polk County Recorder's Office is tasked with the responsibility of issuing birth and death certificates. These records are managed and made available upon request to authorized individuals. To order a raised seal certified copy of birth or death certificate by mail or in-person, requesters must download a copy of vital records form, complete the required fields and send along with proper payment and identification to:

Polk County Recorder
Attn: Vital Records Division
111 Court Avenue Ste 250
Des Moines, IA 50309-2251

A fee of $20.00 is required for each request. Cash, Credit Card (MasterCard, Visa, Discover), check or money orders are accepted.