Chronic Nuisance home fined thousands - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Chronic Nuisance home fined thousands

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Saying enough is enough, the Waterloo Police Department hands out a hefty bill for its services to one home deemed a chronic nuisance for the second time.

The home, 520 Elm Street in Waterloo, deemed a chronic nuisance earlier this year. The owner has racked up a more than $15,000 fine since then, which if unpaid could lead to eviction.

Under city code, homes like 520 Elm that have been deemed a chronic nuisance will be fined $50 per hour per officer for every call to the residence.

Since May, the home has had 11 run-ins with police, including a raid that led to the arrest of four suspects in Waterloo's only murder this year. 

On Thursday night, police searched a car across from 520 Elm.

It is unclear if it is connected to 520 Elm, but those at the home were yelling at the officers trying to do their job.

"See if they charge Dorothy Spates with this. It is not on her property," said a woman standing in the front door and taking video of the scene.

 In July, police raided 520 Elm days after the murder of Otavious Brown.

Unfortunately for neighbors, the flashing lights aren't surprising and they fear for their lives.

"My heart is just heavy for them. I can't imagine living under that fear. It is sad," said Waterloo Police Chief Dan Trelka.

Some people tell the Chief, they can't even drive down Elm without worrying about being threatened.

"A citizen driving through the neighborhood and a group of people surrounded the car and a gun was pointed at the car and the occupants in the car," said Chief Trelka.

 Reportedly, the group told the victim, "This is our hood."

 But it isn't a new problem, police have been trying to diffuse the situation with owner Dorothy Spates and her family for years.

 Last year police responded to the 500 block of Elm 48 times.

 Between May and October of this year, 11 incidents specifically involving 520 Elm, including threats, weapons violations, and the murder investigation.

 The investigators know the home all too well.

 "They have searched that house so many times with search warrants that if weapons are going to be in that house, they know where they are going to be hidden," said Chief Trelka.

 Chief Trelka has tried to give Spates the opportunity to work with them, asking she provide a plan to solve the issues at her home.

 In January, Dorothy Spates sent this letter instead of a plan, claiming the police harass her family.

 Given a second chance, Spates refused again sending a three-page handwritten letter.

 Calling the problem, a "community problem," accusing Trelka of never looking past her for a suspect and calling him a "piece of work."

 Among other things, Trelka points to a KWWL interview where children come out of the home giving him the middle finger behind his back.

 "It just shows a pattern of behavior at that residence that defies societal standards," said Chief Trelka.

  Of the $15,550 fine, the maximum amount the courts can put against Dorothy Spates property taxes is $5,000.

 If she does not pay the fine, she could face eviction.


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