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City of Waterloo takes steps to change police logo after some say it resembles a white supremacist logo

Published: Oct. 5, 2020 at 10:20 PM CDT
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WATERLOO, Iowa (KCRG) - On Monday, the Waterloo City Council took the first steps to make changes to the police department’s logo after people pointed out its similarity to a white supremacist image.

“The police logo was developed in the ’60s and closely resembled the KKK dragon,” Abraham Funchess, the city’s human rights executive director, said.

In the 1960s, the police department embraced a new logo, a griffin. It is a mythological creature that was a cross between an eagle and a lion, but people have pointed to the resemblance to the image associated with a high-ranking member of the Ku Klux Klan, a Grand Dragon.

“If a significant segment of the community has a problem with it because invokes racial fear racial trauma and reminds people of lynching and the state destruction of black bodies, why would we continue to support something like that?” Funchess said.

Monday night, the city council approved making changes to the logo, which appears on officers' badges and patrol cars. A committee will assess the costs involved to make a change and explore what a new logo should represent the city’s police department.

“We need to be very mindful that the police were proud of that logo,” Sharon Juon, a council member, said. “Getting rid of that was going to be difficult, but we want to do it in such a way that they’re proud of the new one, and the community can be proud of the new logo as well.”

Juon said the committee would be comprised of people in the community as well as within the police department. While the committee will be evaluating a logo, it was about symbolically ensuring policing includes everyone.

“If we’re listening to the community then we wouldn’t want to do anything that resembles a griffin which invokes racial fear racial and trauma,” Funchess said.

The committee will meet for the first time on Wednesday.

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