Hundreds of people log in to online forum - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Hundreds of people log in to online forum

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by John Wilmer

WATERLOO (KWWL) - For the past few weeks community members have been calling for an end to the violence. On Thursday an online forum brought together teens, spiritual leaders, police, lawmakers and concerned citizens to try to find a solution. 

With several key strokes from inside the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier, the online forum began. Community activist Belinda Creighton-Smith helped organize the chat.

"It affords young people the anonymity and confidentiality that they may need so they can present or share their information and concerns in a non threatening manner," said Creighton-Smith.

She also hopes the forum will provide information about previous shootings as well as suggestions from the younger generation.

"Whatever information comes out of this I'm hoping we'll be able to use it to say okay young people lets move forward, where can we can we go, where do we start, what should we do."

Captain John Beckman of the Waterloo Police Department was one of the main contributors to the online discussion.

He said a number of comments were the same as he heard before, but some new useful information was also shared.

"The teens that became involved with this were talking that they have first hand knowledge or second hand knowledge of certain activities going but we don't hear from them very often," said Captain Beckman.

Beckman also says he can't reinforce this point it enough that people need to come forward when they see a crime happen.

"There was an awful lot of finger pointing that the police aren't doing this and aren't doing that. We're only as good as the citizens allow us to be and we need their help."

For those wanting to get more officers on the streets you may just get your wish. Captain Beckman says the city has received stimulus funds that will pay for five additional officers. 

 

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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