Few attend Sheriff's town hall meeting in Waterloo - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Few attend Sheriff's town hall meeting in Waterloo

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

We've heard it a lot in Waterloo recently - improving relations between the community and law enforcement, in light of recent violence.

Thursday night, people in Waterloo had the chance to meet and ask questions of Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson.

His agency has increased patrols in Waterloo and is responsible for operating the county jail.

The sheriff says the jail is as full as it's ever been - and mostly of people charged with felony crimes.

But he says he can find more space to put offenders.

The basic problem at Thursday's town hall?

Barely anyone was there.

The chairs were unfolded.

The Sheriff ready.

The power point presentation ready to go.

The problem?

Only 8 people showed for a sheriff's town hall meeting in Waterloo where they could address any issue with law enforcement.

Police and community relations have been a hot topic recently after shootings, gun violence and other violent acts in area neighborhoods and across the country.

Black Hawk County Sheriff's deputies help Waterloo Police respond to many of the calls.

Sheriff Tony Thompson is the only elected law enforcement official in the county and holds monthly town hall meetings.

Many are not well attended.

"It keeps me on my toes, too, as an elected official, that's important to me, to be able to address perspective in the decisions I make every day, too. That can come from one person, not 30," said Thompson.

Sarah Ernst is the mother of three boys.

She was the youngest person in attendance and wants to help learn what can be done to keep her kids out of trouble.

She can only say so much as a parent.

"Everybody's not your friend. You can't trust everybody. Just because you see your friend doing it doesn't make it OK. Somebody tells you do something and you know it's wrong, don't do it," said Ernst.

Meantime, Sheriff Thompson hopes there's more dialogue to help reduce the number of times we show you scenes like this.

"We pray that it's talking, communicating, collaborating, partnering, but if it takes fighting, we can do that, too. It's unfortunate to be at this position and sound militant like that but the reality is what the reality is."

Thompson has two more town hall meetings planned.

The next is set for June 23 in Dunkerton with another set for mid-July in Cedar Falls.

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