On the evening of October 13, the Waterloo Police Department, in collaboration with the Waterloo Commission on Human Rights, the Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office, the Iowa State Patrol, and the Cedar Falls Police Department, held a scenario based event for the community at the Dr. Walter Cunningham School for Excellence. The event was titled Reaching for Respect; Interrupted by a Cop and it was moderated by Sharon Silva. It portrayed a scenario where police were called because residents of a neighborhood saw a person trying to get into a vehicle with a coat hanger. In the scenario, when officers arrive and contact the person, the person tells them it is his vehicle, but he refuses to identify himself when asked by officers. Two Waterloo police officers in uniform who are assigned to the patrol division were on hand to fulfill the role of the officers. Director of Human Rights Abraham Funchess initially portrayed the person trying to get into the vehicle. The scenario with these basics was utilized several times, but the dynamics were changed based upon questions from community members in attendance. Community members were also encouraged to volunteer to portray the person trying to get into the vehicle, as well as portray the officers making contact with the person. A community member did indeed accept the challenge to portray a citizen contacted by the police. Upon conclusion of the scenario portrayals, officers from all the agencies were on-hand to answer questions from community members in attendance.
More of these events will be held in the future. The purpose of these events is as follows:
-To directly educate the community about police procedures and pressures while exposing police to citizen viewpoints in a spirit of collaboration to maximize safety for all.
-To practice an honest and respectful exchange of (differing) opinions in a low stake, safe environment.
-To guide citizens to a greater understanding of how they can increase neighborhood safety by appropriate support of law enforcement officers doing their job.
-To practice trustful verbal exchanges about sensitive issues.
-Since videos of police actions and activities are being sensationalized across the country, this could be a vehicle for trust-building interactions in advance of the next negative event.
The next scenario based event will be held on October 27 at 6 PM at the First United Methodists Church at 614 Randolph St. Snacks and refreshments will be provided for all who attend.
For any questions contact Chief Trelka at 319 291 4522, ext. 3200; or Director Funchess at 319 291 4441.