This year marks the 30th anniversary of one of the darkest weeks in Iowa law enforcement history. On July 12, 1981, Waterloo police officers Wayne Rice and Michael Hoing were shot and killed while responding to a complaint of “loud music” at a home just two blocks from city hall.
Their names were among the 13 read today during Black Hawk County’s annual roll call ceremony — held each year in conjunction with National Peace Officer Memorial Week. Daniel Trelka is director of safety services for the City of Waterloo, which hosted the event.
“Thirty years seems like a long time to many of us, but to the family and friends of these officers it seems like yesterday,” Trelka said. Rice and Hoing were shot and killed by James Michael “T-Bone” Taylor, who eluded capture for several days. He was caught after a nearly week-long manhunt and eventually convicted of the murders.
The search for Taylor also led to the death of a third local officer. Two days after Rice and Hoing were gunned down, Black Hawk County sheriff’s deputy William Millikin died in a traffic accident while responding to a reported sighting of Taylor.
Trelka says the roll call ceremony was an emotional one for many people, especially those associated with his department. “Sadly, what many people don’t realize is we’ve had seven Waterloo Police officers killed in the line of duty in the past 110 years,” Trelka said. “That’s significant. That’s quite a large amount for a city of this size.”
One name was added to this year’s roll call of honored Black Hawk County officers — Waterloo policeman John Bailey, who was recognized for the first time more than a century after his death. Trelka says Bailey died in an accident while on patrol in a horse buggy in 1902.
“A citizen contacted the state and made them aware that (Bailey) might meet the criteria for how he met his death,” Trelka explained. “Sergeant Robert Huitt, from the Waterloo Police Department, researched it and (Bailey) did indeed meet the criteria.” Following the roll call ceremony, officers took part in wreath-laying ceremonies at the gravesites of Rice and Hoing.
By Elwin Huffman, KOEL, Waterloo-Oelwein