Des Moines Register calls for feds to step in - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Des Moines Register calls for feds to step in

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

In an editorial Sunday, The Des Moines Register, criticizes the Waterloo Police Department saying the U.S. Department of Justice needs to step in to restore trust.

The Waterloo Police Department has been scrutinized for incidents that have happened over the past couple of years. These instances and more could lead the black community to lose their trust in the police department.

Waterloo Police Chief Trelka says police officers are people and make mistakes, but the editorial indicates there's a difference between "honest mistakes and a complete lack of professionalism."

"I'll admit there are deficiencies not only in Waterloo, and I take responsibility for that, but industry-wide we have to do more to educate the public about what we do and why we do what we do," said Chief Trelka.

Sixteen percent of Waterloo's 68,000 people are African American, but only two of the city's 124 police officers are black, the editorial says this could be a reason for mistrust between police and the black community.

"When we have openings at the Waterloo Police Department, our African American population is sixteen percent, however the applicants we are getting are typically less than one-percent of our applicants are African American, so we encourage you to apply and help us address the concerns you have," said Chief Trelka.

The opinion piece reads, the Waterloo Police Department needs "outside scrutiny and oversight if it is to regain the public's trust" and calling for the Department of Justice to step in.

"That's up to them, I encourage anybody to ride with our officers, if it happens to be the Department of Justice, so be it, see what this police department truly is about," said Chief Trelka.

Chief Trelka is worried about the community and about losing his job.

"I love this community, I put my heart and soul in it, but here's my guarantee, I am going to give this city a full days work until my very last day," said Chief Trelka.

Chief Trelka says he knows that half of the community trusts him and the department and there is a lot of work to do to regain the other half's trust, but there is a plan of action set in place to rebuild the trust.

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