Police Science alumnus named Waterloo police chief

Hawkeye alumnus Joe Leibold is sworn in as Waterloo Police Chief posted on Monday, November 28, 2022 in  Alumni Profiles

Leibold sworn in as Waterloo's new police chief

WATERLOO — The city has named its new police chief.

Joe Leibold will head the Waterloo Police Department after Mayor Quentin Hart appointed and swore him in at Monday’s City Council meeting. Prior to the swearing-in, the council unanimously approved the appointment with no discussion. Councilor Nia Wilder was absent.

Leibold’s salary will be $161,304, according to his employee agreement. He has been with the department since 1990.

“There’s just so much I’ve learned over the years,” he said during the swearing-in ceremony.

“Doing a police officer’s job is difficult. Phone calls, getting up in the middle of the night, you miss birthdays, anniversaries, and (are sometimes) gone for days at a time. My family has tolerated that for 30-plus years and I love them and appreciate them dearly for that.”

He also commended his fellow officers.

“The officers show up every day, strap on their gear and go to work,” he said. “They don’t know what the day holds for them when they leave – and when they go out they bring professionalism. I’m just immensely proud to be a part of them and very proud of the good work they do each and every day to make Waterloo a better place.”

Hart noted Leibold’s 32 years of service, as well.

“Chief Leibold has all the accolades, 30 years decorated,” Hart said. “But the thing that stands out the most about all of those things is that he is an incredible human being, you know, always encouraging, always staying focused on what’s most important, loving people within his community. All of those combined with the experience is going to make him an outstanding police chief for the city of Waterloo.

“So this is a proud day for us. This is a proud day for the state of Iowa.”

Leibold previously held the title of assistant police chief and served as the interim police chief since Joel Fitzgerald resigned in August to take a job leading the mass transit system in Denver, Colo. Fitzgerald started working for the city in May 2020.

Ahead of Liebold’s swearing-in, there was no public search process or announcement of finalists for the police chief job. Hart said during the council meeting that the city advertised the job vacancy nationally. Three people applied for the job and were interviewed. The city said Leibold and another applicant were internal candidates but officials released no other information on those who applied.

“Without a doubt, (Leibold) stood far and above the other applicants,” Hart said.

Leibold, who grew up in Dubuque County, obtained an associate’s degree in police science from Hawkeye Community College. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va. He served in the Army National Guard from 1986 to 1995.

In 1998, he was promoted to sergeant. He became a lieutenant in 2004 and a captain in 2008. In 2011, he was promoted to captain of police services and in 2017 his title was changed to major. He has worked patrol, crime lab and internal affairs.

After Dan Trelka’s departure as chief in 2019, Leibold served as interim police chief.

By Maria Kuiper, Waterloo Courier


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