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Waterloo seizes hundreds of guns, announces crime is “way down” and thanks officer for service

WATERLOO - This week, Waterloo city hall took a victory lap in announcing the seizure of hundreds of guns, that crime is "way down" in their community, and realized an opportunity to thank a police officer for his service.

WATERLOO – This week, Waterloo city hall took a victory lap in announcing the seizure of hundreds of guns, that crime is “way down” in their community, and realized an opportunity to thank a police officer for his service.

According to a bulletin from Waterloo city hall:

Waterloo Police Sergeant Spencer Gann
(Via Waterloo city hall)

Crime is way down in Waterloo, according to recent data released, and this man is one of the many faces behind that statistic making it happen.

Meet Sergeant Spencer Gann. He’s been with the Waterloo Police Department (WPD) for 15 years as a patrol officer, crime scene investigator, field training officer and currently as supervisor of the Violent Crime Apprehension Team (VCAT) comprised of three detectives and him.

“We’re really in the business of saving lives.”

Their unit just hit the 800 mark for illegal guns seized (see pictures). Back in 2009 the Waterloo City Council accepted a four-year grant from the COPS Hiring Recovery Program, hiring five new officers for the then newly created VCAT.

“We focus on gun and gang violence. We work to identify the most violent individuals in our community and through investigative means we look into ways to charge individuals for carrying firearms and get the guns off the streets.”

And it’s working. VCAT now exists under the Detective Bureau and the team is deputized as Task Force Officers with the U.S Marshals Northern Iowa Fugitive Task Force. VCAT works closely with the Safe Streets Task Force, which partners with the FBI and ATF, to ensure those who break the law are held accountable in federal court.

“When we remove the weapons and the violent offenders, there is a direct correlation with violent crime dropping. You can’t tote a gun illegally around in Waterloo and think you’re not going to get caught—because eventually you will.”

Even individuals buying a weapon and giving it or selling it to someone who is not legally allowed to possess one can face federal charges—it’s called a straw purchase.

“There are a lot people living in Waterloo and they are the good, tax paying citizens that are doing the right things. I am dealing with a very small percentage that are trying to ruin the quality of life in Waterloo, and our team is part of preventing that.”

He is very proud of his hometown.

“I grew up here. I went to East High school, and I do take a lot of pride in the city. When I see crime numbers dropping, I can look to those and say look we are doing a great job compared to other communities our size, and we’ve done a lot of things here to combat the crime.”

Calling the WPD pretty progressive, he says “change can be really hard in law enforcement, but we’ve gone in the right direction. The city has kept up with technology and vehicle inventory. We are on the cutting edge.”

He says WPD having a good relationship with the county attorney’s office and the U.S. attorney’s office “is paramount in prosecuting crimes. That gives us a force multiplier when we are working a case to bring in other resources immediately.”

The sergeant feels good knowing the huge drop in homicides in recent years, from ten in 2022 to three this past year, is a direct result of officers’ efforts.

Guns Waterloo says were seized. (Via Waterloo city hall)
Guns Waterloo says were seized. (Via Waterloo city hall)
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