- Associated Press - Thursday, October 20, 2016

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - Waterloo’s police chief is reaching out to convicted felons as part of an effort to rebuild community trust in the department.

Safety Services Director and police chief Dan Trelka is putting together an advisory team of people who have been incarcerated to help him review department policies, especially those involving use of force. Each person’s felony conviction must be at least two years old, according to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (http://bit.ly/2dRlzyk ).

The group would meet quarterly to discuss policy and current events.

Trelka said the team has no authority. He expects the committee to have five members with one each appointed by Trelka, the mayor, the City Council, the Waterloo Police Protective Association and the NAACP. A sixth member of the team may come from the Human Rights Commission.

“These individuals who are going to be on this have street credibility,” Trelka said. “So when I talk about use of force incidents at the police department they can go back to the community and hopefully better educate our community.”

The advisory committee is part of the city’s push to build trust between citizens and police in the wake of several lawsuits filed across the nation alleging officers used improper force against black suspects.

A separate advisory committee of both officers and citizens will be created to review local events where force was used, as well as analyze highly publicized incidents nationally to talk about how those incidents can be avoided in Waterloo.

The Waterloo and Cedar Falls police departments, as well as other groups, held an event last week in which officers used role-playing scenarios to practice when use of force is appropriate. A second similar event will be held Oct. 27.

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Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, http://www.wcfcourier.com

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