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Neighborhood watch patrols to resume in Waterloo

By Tim Jamison, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, Iowa
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

July 09--WATERLOO -- A volunteer "neighborhood watch patrol" is back in business.

The Waterloo City Council voted unanimously Monday to reinstate the program, which previously operated from August 2011 through June 2012 but was discontinued when funding ran out.

Director of Safety Services Dan Trelka said the city has identified a "surplus" vehicle for the patrol which he expects will begin again in about two months.

"It does help," he said. "We didn't get anything major called in when we had it before but it helped with a lot of the annoying (issues) in the neighborhood."

The city will supply the vehicle, insurance and maintenance while the neighborhood associations will supply the fuel and a driver.

Volunteers will be vetted and trained by the police department to call in concerns but not to take any action. The patrol volunteer will have a cellular phone but will not be allowed to carry a firearm, Trelka said.

The original pilot program was funded with $2,000 in forfeiture funds and was used in the Church Row and West Central neighborhoods.

City Councilman Steve Schmitt said discussion about the program's return has prompted other neighborhood associations to take note.

"I have gotten calls from the Walnut and Roosevelt neighborhoods," he said.

With multiple neighborhood associations showing interest, the Police Department will need to work out a schedule for sharing the patrol vehicle.

While the program creates some additional liability for the city, staff worked with the City Attorney's Office and with the insurance program coordinators on waivers and other issues.

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(c)2014 Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (Waterloo, Iowa)

Visit Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (Waterloo, Iowa) at www.wcfcourier.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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