On July 27th, 2019 Officers assigned to the Waterloo Police Violent Crime Apprehension Team (VCAT) were conducting a weapons investigation related to a shots fired call. During the investigation, officers seized a 9mm Glock handgun with a hi-capacity extended magazine from the shooting suspect. This marked the 400th firearm seized by VCAT since the unit was formed in April of 2010. VCAT officers have seized 58 firearms during criminal investigations thus far in 2019.
Officers assigned to the VCAT Unit have focused their efforts on gun violence in Waterloo since its inception. The officers assigned to this pro-active unit use a variety of investigative methods to prevent shootings and hold those accountable who wish to plague our community with gun violence.
VCAT officers work closely with other units and divisions of the Waterloo Police Department along with surrounding agencies to curb gun violence. The officers work particularly close with the Safe Streets Federal Task Force as well as the United States Attorney’s Office-Northern District of Iowa for Federal gun crime prosecution. Since 2010 the United States Attorney’s Office in Cedar Rapids has adopted approximately 90 gun cases investigated by the VCAT Unit.
Most of the firearms taken off the streets by VCAT are semi-auto handguns and revolvers. In addition, VCAT officers have seized a large number of shotguns and assault rifles such as the AR15 and AK47. VCAT officers have also encountered and seized multiple firearms that are classified as offensive weapons by law, including sawed-off shotguns and fully-automatic rifles. The weapons seized during these criminal investigations were often possessed illegally by prohibited persons such as convicted felons or those involved in domestic violence. Many of these firearms were determined to be stolen during burglaries, previously used in crimes or involved in a straw purchase.
Sgt. Michael Girsch