Failed local leadership at the city level has put a damper on the morale of Waterloo police officers.
This year, according to Cedar Valley Backs The Blue, Waterloo is down 10 officers and has multiple officers working 16 hours shifts in overtime.
“The main reason officers are leaving Waterloo is due to their frustrations with department leadership and a lack of support from the mayor and council,” said the Chair of Cedar Valley Backs the Blue Lynn Moller.
Moller is referring to the current Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald, who Mayor Quentin Hart hired.
Moller added officers are leaving the department “like crazy,” where at least five officers have retired early due to frustrations toward the Police Chief.
The group alleges “he is above the law,” describing how Fitzgerald has not passed any physical fitness tests with the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy but still appears at active crime scenes in uniform without a firearm and police identification.
Councilwoman Klein, who is running for Mayor Hart’s seat, has asked for the resignation of Fitzgerald and has made it public that if elected, she will remove him.
In the meantime, Mayor Hart has been politically active alongside prominent Democrats over the past year. He has spoken out against Governor Kim Reynolds’ Back The Blue Bill and appeared alongside Mayor Lightfoot of Chicago, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and other progressive leaders on social media.
Under the direction of Mayor Hart, the city council spent $15,000 to remove the Waterloo Police Department’s ‘long time’ griffin emblem, alleging that it was a KKK symbol.
“No talks with police. No community input. Just rammed it through. The symbol was designed by a longtime newspaper reporter and former chief 50 years ago,” stated Moller.
As the Waterloo law enforcement community continues to struggle, Hart continues to progress his political career.