Officers and civilian personnel in the Waterloo Police Department are taking classes on customer service. Captain John Beckman says they’re hoping to improve their interaction with the community.

Beckman says it was a combination of an interest the department had and new mayor Buck Clark was also interested in the idea to “enhance our image within the community by improving our customer service.” Many people end up interacting with an officer in a situation where they might not be happy if they are getting a ticket for a speeding or some other violation.

Beckman says dealing with people in those situations is part of the overall issue. Beckman says the training would apply to a traffic stop or most any other encounter they have with the public, whether it be taking a burglary report or responding to a more violent incident. Beckman says the department is taking the initiative to make all those encounters go better for both sides.

“It boils down to treating people the way you want to be treated, we can all do a better job of that,” Beckman says, “there are times when things get to a point where maybe we are not doing as well as we should, and we’re just trying to do a little better.”

Beckman says they will follow up after the training sessions to see how it has worked out.

He says Brent Matthias is a consultant providing the training, and he has developed a survey that will be completed by members of the department and citizens to get some feedback on the program. All 125 sworn officers and 10 civilian employees will undergo the customer service training. The first of four training sessions began Wednesday.