Culver brings in agency vet to head DPS

Recently-retired Gene Meyer is going back to the agency he left a few weeks ago to become its commissioner.  That means Governor-elect Chet Culver has decided against keeping Kevin Techau, Governor Vilsack’s Department of Public Safety commissioner.  We still don’t know the fate of Michael Blouin, Vilsack’s director at the Department of Economic Development who challenged Culver in the June primary.

Here’s today’s news release:

(Des Moines)  Today, Governor-elect Chet Culver and Lt. Governor-elect Patty Judge announced another round of appointments to their administration. Included in the appointments are Gene Meyer as Commissioner of Public Safety and James Larew as Chief Legal Counsel.


“Gene has a tremendous amount of experience in public safety spanning over three decades. He has hands-on management experience in public safety, including serving as Director of the Division of Criminal Investigation.  I am honored that Gene has agreed to serve the people of Iowa in this capacity and am certain he will be an outstanding commissioner.”


“Returning to the Department as Commissioner is an honor. I appreciate Governor-elect Culver’s confidence in my ability.  One of government’s most important responsibilities is public safety.   I am well acquainted with the Department. Every member, no matter their position as a trooper, special agent, analyst, forensic scientist or clerk is a professional dedicated to keeping the State of Iowa a safe place. 

“I will resign my position as Mayor of West Des Moines effective January 12, 2007. For almost a decade I served the people of West Des Moines and I thank them for the privilege and honor.  The decision to leave was difficult.  West Des Moines is a great city and so many people contribute to its success.  I’m just one member of a large team.  I will be replaced and the city will continue to prosper.

“I am thrilled with the opportunity to again serve the people of Iowa as Public Safety Commissioner.”

BIOGRAPHY: Gene Meyer, Commissioner of Public Safety. Gene Meyer, a Des Moines native, began his career as a Communications Operator for the Iowa Department of Public Safety in 1969. He then spent 5 years as a Special Agent and then another 11 years as a Special Agent in Charge of Central-South Central Iowa. In 1989, Gene was promoted to Assistant Director of the Division of Criminal Investigation for the State of Iowa. In 1991, he accepted a 4-year assignment on the Commissioner of Public Safety staff, where he directed the Planning, Training and Research Bureau for the 800-person agency. In 1994, he returned to the DCI to head up the newly created Gaming Bureau and in 2003 became the Director of the DCI where he managed a department of 250 employees, including 140 field agents, and a budget of $20.1 million. Meyer has also served his community for nine years as a member of the West Des Moines Community School Board of Education. As mayor of West Des Moines since November 1997, Gene serves on many commissions and boards such as the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Metro Advisory Council, West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce, and the West Des Moines Development Corp. He also currently serves as a member of the West Bank Corporation board of directors. Gene earned his under-graduate degree in criminal justice and his masters degree in public administration. He is a 1980 graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy.


“I have known Jim for a long time and trust his judgment.  I am grateful that he has agreed to serve the taxpayers and continue working with me in my upcoming administration.”


“It has been my privilege to be an attorney in the state and federal courts of our state and to serve clients in the Iowa City area for nearly 20 years.  It will be a privilege, honor and a challenge to serve the people of Iowa and the Office of Governor as General Counsel.  I thank Chet Culver and Patty Judge for the confidence they have vested to me.”

BIOGRAPHY: James Larew, Chief Legal Counsel. James Larew is an attorney in private practice in Iowa City.  A graduate of Harvard University and the University of Iowa College of Law, his general law practice has focused on employment, civil rights and railroad law.  He has appeared in State and Federal District Courts in Iowa and in Illinois and before the 7th and 8th Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal.  He is married to Mary Spalding Larew, a pediatrician and member of the faculty of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.  They have two children, Mary Elizabeth Larew and David Spalding Larew.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.