Governor Branstad has named a 36-year veteran of law enforcement in Iowa as the new director of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy. Arlen Ciechanowski previously served as the academy’s assistant director before retiring last spring. The 58-year-old Polk City resident replaces Penny Westfall, who resigned last month. Westfall was criticized by law enforcement officers for her management style and communication skills.

Ciechanowski says he’ll take a different approach. “I like to think about being able to hire good people and allowing them to do their job,” Ciechanowski said. “(Westfall) was a much more ‘hands on’ type of person. I have a more participatory-type management style.” Ciechanowski spent 26 years at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy, first as an instructor before being named assistant director in 1996. He retired last year, but took another job.

Ciechanowski refused to reveal much about his feelings about Westfall. “You know, I had a professional relationship with her. That’s pretty the extent of what I would say in that regard at this point,” Ciechanowski said. Ciechanowski started his career as a police officer in Ames. Now, he’ll be in charge of training officers who’re just beginning their careers. It’s a job he plans to take very seriously.

“We have 6,000 police officers in the State of Iowa and ultimately, the first training they have, the way they will be molded for the rest of their career starts at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy,” Ciechanowski said. He begins his new job today.