WATERLOO — Police Chief Dan Trelka is retiring after nearly three decades in law enforcement.
Trelka, 56, announced Monday he will step down Nov. 30 as Waterloo’s police chief, a position he’s held since May 2010.
“I’ve been contemplating it for the past month or two,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to go out on top, and I’m there.”
Trelka plans to stay in Waterloo and continue serving on the Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors. He was elected to the board last November and is in the first year of a four-year term.
“There’s other initiatives I want to get more involved in,” he said. “I want to see what other opportunities might pop up.”
Trelka is active with House of Hope and Family and Children’s Council. He also wants to be more involved with the Hail Mary Project, a program started by police officer Justin Brandt that provides social support and alternatives for young people through sports.
A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Trelka began his law enforcement career as a deputy sheriff in Colorado in 1990 and later served as chief of police in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. He was hired as Waterloo’s police chief in May 2010 by Mayor Buck Clark after Tom Jennings retired.
Trelka served as director of safety services for a time, overseeing both the police and fire departments, but later focused solely on the police duties.
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Trelka said he was particularly proud of the work of the officers in his department.
“When I came here and looked at the budget of this police department I said, ‘How do they do it?’” he said. “I still say that. For less than $200 per resident a year we are offering a phenomenal service to this community.
“The overall crime rate since I’ve come here is down over 30 percent,” he added. “But it wasn’t me. It was the men and women of this department.”
More recently, Trelka was an advocate for the automated traffic safety enforcement program, which added cameras at intersections to catch those running red lights and speeding.
Trelka said he remains focused on his police duties through November.
“I love serving my community,” he said. “I ask the citizens: What do they want of me?”
Mayor Quentin Hart said he is working with the Human Resources Department on a process to fill Trelka’s position and will be trying to “move this forward as fast as we can.”
“It was kind of a surprise, but I certainly understand,” Hart said. “Dan will be missed. He was dedicated to the job and we appreciate all his efforts.”