- Associated Press - Thursday, March 2, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Public Safety Commissioner Roxann Ryan is appointing her top aide to be the new chief of the Iowa State Patrol.

Ryan announced Thursday that her executive officer, Jeff Ritzman, will be the patrol’s next colonel effective immediately. He replaces Michael Van Berkum, whose retirement takes effect Friday.

Ryan says in a note to troopers that Ritzman “is the right person for the job at this point in time.” She says Ritzman’s experience makes him “uniquely qualified” to address challenges in law enforcement and lead the force during a time of tight budgets.

Ritzman joined the Department of Public Safety as a trooper in 1982 and has served in several roles, including homeland security coordinator in the intelligence-gathering Fusion Center.

Ryan also announced that she was appointing Lt. Randy Olmstead to replace Ritzman as executive officer.

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