Bettendorf, IA

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Bettendorf is a city of approximately 40,000 residents, located in eastern Iowa’s Scott County. The community is part of the “Quad Cities,” a group of five cities along the Iowa-Illinois border that include Bettendorf and Davenport, Iowa, and Moline and East Moline, Illinois. The city also hosts the Isle of Capri, a large casino that draws visitors from across the state. Prostitution activity has been well-documented in the area for decades, and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses.

Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. For example, in September 2014, a group of law enforcement agencies including the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Bettendorf Police Department, Marion Police Department, Quad City Metropolitan Enforcement Group, and Scott County Sheriff’s Office conducted a two-pronged web sting targeting both sex buyers and prostituted women in one of the casino’s hotels. Hotel staff reportedly “volunteered a handful of rooms” to assist with the investigation. The facility was selected because it offered “enhanced surveillance capabilities,” suggesting that recording devices were likely used.  According to a press release from the Iowa Department of Public Safety, “undercover officers utilized advertisements on websites popular with individuals engaged in prostitution. When suspects responded to the ads, undercover officers arranged meetings with them at the hotel. At least five male sex buyers were arrested as a result. All of the arrestees’ names, ages, and mugshots were released to the public.

Not all arrest of sex buyers are the result of proactive sting operations, but are products of investigations or enforcement operations.  For example, in April, 2018, a Bettendorf Attorney was arrested and charged with sexual abuse, prostitution and indecent exposure.  Court Documents state that the victim, a client being represented by the attorney, was at the attorney’s office when the man exposed himself to her and forced the victim to interact with him. The victim left the office immediately. The victim was contacted by the man in two subsequent phone calls in which he informed her that in lieu of payment for his legal services she could perform sexual services. A search warrant was executed at the attorney’s office, revealing evidence confirming the accounts of the victim. An arrest warrant was issued for the man , who later turned himself in. He was released until his next court appearance under the supervision of the Department of Correctional Services.

Key Partners

  • Iowa Department of Public Safety
  • Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation
  • Iowa State Patrol
  • Scott County Sheriff’s Office
  • Bettendorf Police Department
  • Quad City Metropolitan Enforcement Group
  • Marion Police Department

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Arrest of Sex Buyer, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Prostitution, Sex Trafficking in the Area:

State Iowa
Type City
Population 39327
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