Large crowd voices concerns to city council on public safety model

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CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (KWWL) – A sea of red shirts filled the halls of Cedar Falls City Council Monday night.

“You don’t have this kind of showing if you’re doing a good job. There’s concerns here, this is a big deal,” said Mark Woolbright, the Vice President of District 2 of the International Association of Firefighters who would later offer his assistance.

Close to a hundred people turned up to speak out against the public safety officer program in Cedar Falls

“Our city is already safe, our officers are doing a great job. So why in God’s name are you wanting to hire 50 percent more police officers. Staff our fire department properly,” Tanya Geffert.

Most spoke out against the program but a few offered their support.

“I plead with you to stay the course, regardless of the pressures,” said Chris Harshbarger.

Mayor Jim Brown reading the denial letter he sent out when asked to put an item on the agenda to vote on having a public forum.

“I will not allow a formal gathering where my staff is barraged by a group of folks who have demonstrated the pertinacity to impugn staff and only seem to care about dividing out great community,” said Brown.

Former fighter Sharon Regenold who put in that request responded to Brown’s letter with one of her own.

“This leads us to believe that you are not open to hearing from both sides. If you’ve already decided how this will end, you are not listening to your citizens,” said Regenold.

“This is a flawed and dangerous experiment that we’ve got going on here.” said Woolbright. “We’re very concerned on how this is going to end. Again what I would offer is to work with the International Association of Firefighters or law enforcement and get an outside, independent, third party, consultant, expert to come in and assess what you have going on and get some help on putting this together.”

 

Taylor Vessel

Taylor Vessel

Multimedia Reporter
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