Trelka Will Continue To Be Waterloo’s Police Chief
Despite recent reports that Dan Trelka has been asked to resign as Waterloo's police chief, the city's top cop will continue to lead the department for the foreseeable future.
Mayor Quentin Hart addressed the reports during an afternoon news conference on Monday (Sept. 19, 2016). The mayor said he's directed Trelka to focus on police-related matters for the next 12 months.
The directive means that Trelka, who also oversees Waterloo Fire Rescue as the city's Director of Safety Services, will relinquish those duties.
Hart said he and Trelka have begun the process of developing a community-wide policing plan that will work toward regaining public trust, and they plan to work together in addressing some of the challenges currently facing the city.
Multiple reports serviced on Friday that Trelka was asked to resign after the city reached settlements in a series of cases involving the use of excessive force by local police officers. Since then, community members have been rallying behind the chief, with many people posting messages of support on Facebook and other social media sites. Messages of support for Trelka were also written in chalk on the sidewalks outside each entrance to City Hall on Monday.
Trelka was appointed as Waterloo's police chief in 2010 and has served as Director of Safety Services since 2011. Before coming to the Cedar Valley, he was a member of the police force in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., from 1992-2010.
Neither Hart or Trelka took questions at the press conference.
The text from Monday's press conference is transcribed below.
Mayor Quentin Hart: "Over the last couple of months, the city of Waterloo has been receiving a myriad of news reports spanning across the country, locally and even on the internet. Those articles and videos -- although shocking -- shouldn't be the representation nor the face of our community. They don't represent city hall and they don't represent what our brave public safety officers have to offer this community. Nor do they offer what the majority of citizens have that represent this community as well. Over the last couple of weeks, Director Trelka and I have had some series heart-to-heart conversations over what needs to take place and what type of support is needed to move this community forward together. As a child, born in the city of Waterloo, these very streets that I've walked and grew up in, I know has the potential to be better and to do better. And the biggest room that we all have, including your mayor, is room for improvement. And Director Trelka also has shown and expressed his compassion for Waterloo, which transcends for both of us just employment for the city. One thing that people need to understand, I didn't become Mayor so I could run away from tough decisions, when popularity becomes impacted. I was elected to make tough decisions, and to get to the core of the challenges, in order to help us all move forward. And to answer, right now, the swirls of the various questions from the various sources, I'm telling you, first and foremost, that I believe Dan Trelka is the one that can help us to address the myriad of challenges, internally and externally, that we face. With that said, Chief Trelka and I, threw community meetings, through community meetings, outreach, best practices, conversations and a passion for this community, have begun the process of a community-wide policing plan that will work toward regaining public trust that has been lost due to some of our shortcomings. This isn't just a plan that will hold accountability to our public safety officials. It will also send a message to any perpetrators of senseless violence that takes place in our streets that enough is enough. I would be remiss, in my duty as mayor, if I didn't have a concern about the uptick in shootings and other crimes that are plaguing this community. I would also be remiss in my duties if I didn't give support and attempt to work through our challenges that we face. Today is a day to lead and move forward with the collective vision of support that is needed to become even more effective in gaining the public's trust and creating a safer community. Therefore, I have directed Chief Trelka, for the next year, to only focus on that plan for change for the future. Currently, Chief Trelka has dual responsibilities as Director of Safety Services for the both the Waterloo Police Department and also the Fire Department. He and I both agree, that at this moment, the focus should just be with WPD as chief, and as Pat Treloar being fire chief, directly reporting to the mayor's office. Because the challenges that we face, both internally and externally, are too daunting to have a dual capacity. We have to have a singular focus with addressing these challenges, and I am more than ever confident, that collectively, with Chief Trelka, with Waterloo P.D., with city hall, with the community that I was born and raised in, that we can change the course of this narrative by working together for change."
Chief Dan Trelka: "I'm here to work with Mayor Hart. We have some challenges to face. We have some adjustments to make. We're having great conversations. All of this is for the betterment of Waterloo and I'm optimistic of the future for all of us."
Mayor Hart: "In the coming weeks and months, we will have an aggressive approach to rebuilding that trust, that shared collective vision within our community. Bumpy times we've had and storms may continue to come, but we can overcome any challenge that comes before us. As I've said from the beginning, when all of this information swirled around, I do not make public comments over personnel matters. Dan Trelka is going to focus on the Waterloo Police Department and try to continue to work, build public trust from those areas where its been lost, and move forward in addressing some of the challenges that we have."