Ames is hiring a new police chief. Here's how you can get involved in the process.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the extended application deadline for the role.
A national search for Ames' next police chief is underway, with the new department head expected to start within months.
The position was posted three weeks ago on the city's job listings, and applications close May 21 at noon. The job has been posted on online platforms like Indeed and Glassdoor and shared with public safety professional networks "to reach a diverse population of candidates," according to a city news release providing more details on the recruitment process.
Those organizations include the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives, National Asian Peace Officer Association, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement and National Latino Peace Officers Association, Ames spokesperson Susan Gwiasda said Wednesday.
“We are seeking a progressive professional to lead an organization who is committed to the principles of procedural justice, accountability, and transparency in our continuous quest to build trust and legitimacy for the Police Department,” City Manager Steve Schainker said.
The new police chief is expected to start this summer. Cmdr. Geoff Huff has been serving as interim chief since Chuck Cychosz retired from the position in August 2020.
What is the timeline for the search, and how can I get involved?
Finalists for the job are expected to visit Ames in June. In addition to on-site interviews, public sessions will be scheduled, allowing residents to meet the finalists and ask questions, the release said. The dates for those sessions, as well as the finalists' names, background information, education and work history, will be shared with the public.
“The City of Ames has a long tradition of inviting public feedback during all of our top leadership recruitments,” Schainker said in the release. “We appreciate citizen feedback because the information gathered from numerous sources assists us in making the best choice for our organization and this community."
How much money will the new Ames police chief make?
The estimated annual salary for the Ames police chief is between $101,601.97 and $157,699.57, according to the city's website. Qualifications for the position include a bachelor's degree in police science, criminal justice, management, or closely related field and a minimum of seven years experience in a public law enforcement agency, five years of which were at the management or senior level.
Applicants will be asked whether they have participated in a collective bargaining process, how they have managed budgets, how many employees they currently supervise and about their experience in a college town environment.
What else do Ames residents need to know?
As a member of the city manager's executive leadership team, the police chief is required to reside within Ames city limits.
A recruitment packet for the position says the police chief will work to "determine the crime prevention, law enforcement and public education needs of the community."
"The Police Department in Ames, Iowa, has significant opportunities to interact with an engaged community," the packet says. "Through community involvement, the Chief of Police can continue to create a culture of transparency and accountability."
The search for a new police chief comes after a summer of Black Lives Matter protests worldwide — including in Ames — called for changes to policing. In response to an "extraordinary amount of feedback" from Ames residents, city officials in September drafted a report called Policing in Ames: "A Path Forward."
The report says Schainker will recommend the city add a diversity, equity, and inclusion coordinator; create an Ames Citizen Police Advisory Committee; and publish quarterly reports on use of force statistics, among other initiatives.
In an emailed statement, Gwiasda said the city expects the next police chief to "be able to connect and collaborate with community members to engage with their concerns and perspectives."
"The City of Ames is committed to serving the community and a core value of this organization is being customer driven. We accomplish this by listening to our residents so we may provide services that exceed their expectations," Gwiasda said.
City staff are working to prioritize the initiatives outlined in the September report for implementation, Gwiasda said, adding the next police chief will have "a central role in realizing these changes."