PREVIOUS: Waterloo police aim to protect under no-contact orders - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

PREVIOUS: Waterloo police aim to protect under no-contact orders

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

They're issued every day in Black Hawk County: No-contact orders promise a person protection from a potentially dangerous situation.

But the piece of paper can only do so much.

Last week, Marlene Buss placed a no-contact order on her former boyfriend, Kevin Ambrose. According to police reports, a few hours later, Ambrose shot Buss and shot and killed her mother, Kay Straw.

Waterloo's Director of Safety Services Dan Trelka explained the prevalence of domestic abuse cases in the county is troubling -- but it's a reality they deal with every day.

And up until 6:52 p.m. Wednesday, the situation between Ambrose and Buss was a routine call.

"If we can't articulate imminent danger, we would spend thousands of hours in these situations," said Trelka. "We just don't have the resources to do that."

After 6:52 p.m., the danger became all too clear -- and the family started asking why someone wasn't there to protect Buss and her mother.

"She wanted the cops to wait and the cops told her they weren't babysitters," Tammy Barnes said.

Trelka explained that officers did go with Buss, and they told her what they tell every person who issues a no-contact order: They would wait while she got the essential items out of the home.

"Just grab a few things, what you may need overnight. And we'll stand by while you get that stuff," Trelka said. "But on occasion, people will say, 'We want to get our TV out, our couch out.' We just don't have the man hours available to stand by in a situation like that for several hours."

Trelka said this was one of those situations. But even though officers couldn't stand by, at least one checked in on the house frequently, he said.

"He stayed in the neighborhood. He had other calls he needed to respond to, but he did frequently go back to the residence," Trelka said. "And sadly, within minutes after he had been at the residence one time, the shooter came to the house and engaged in the criminal act."

Police are devastated that this crime happened on their watch, but Trelka is confident their actions were the correct ones to take.

He said, ultimately, the responsibility for Straw's death and Buss' injuries lies with the man behind the gun. Trelka believes Ambrose is that person.

"If we could predict that things like this were going to happen, we wouldn't need cops," he added.

Since 1995, at least 235 Iowans have been killed in domestic disputes.

In light of the crime last week, Seeds of Hope is reminding women and men in the area of their services. For confidential help or information, call 1-888-746-4673.

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