Waterloo, IA police chief fires back at critics; says safety trumps cash in traffic camera program

Police Chief Dan Trelka fired back this week at critics claiming the city’s automated traffic enforcement cameras were nothing but revenue generators.

Trelka’s defense came Monday as Waterloo City Council members unanimously advanced ordinances that would allow red light cameras to issue speeding tickets and add a new “chronic nuisance” fine for habitual violators.

While there were no objections lodged before the votes, council members brought up phone calls and social media posts from constituents labeling the camera program as a City Hall money grab.

“From the very beginning when we initiated this program we haven’t denied that these generated revenue,” Trelka said. “Even a regular traffic ticket generates revenue for the state, for the city.

“Revenue is the residual effect of tickets,” he added. “However, we want to have a positive impact on safety.”

Trelka said the 13 red light cameras set up at six intersection were chosen based on high accident rates, while the hand-held and mobile speed enforcement cameras are often used in areas where neighborhoods have asked for them.