Two finalist candidates are vying to be Ames' new police chief. Here's what you need to know

Isabella Rosario
Ames Tribune

Following a nationwide search, two candidates have been selected as finalists to become Ames' next police chief — Geoff Huff of Ames and John Justiniano of Winchester, California, according to a city news release.

Huff and Justiniano will soon give public presentations at the Farwell T. Brown Auditorium in the Ames Public Library, located at 515 Douglas Ave., where residents can ask questions and provide feedback. Huff's presentation is scheduled for June 7 at 4:30 p.m., and Justiniano's presentation will be June 14 at 4:30 p.m. The presentations are part of a two-day on-site interview process.

Previously: Ames is hiring a new police chief. Here's how you can get involved in the process.

Geoff Huff is current Ames interim chief

Huff has been serving as interim chief since Chuck Cychosz retired from the position in August 2020.

In addition to serving as interim chief, Huff has worked as a police officer, corporal, sergeant, lieutenant and commander since he came to the Ames Police Department in 1994. A graduate of the FBI National Academy, Huff has a bachelor's degree in criminology from the University of Northern Iowa and a master's degree in criminal justice from the American Military University, according to the release.

John Justiniano leads a California department

Justiniano is the Deputy Chief of Police at Detachment Fallbrook, where he leads a police department of 31 officers and staff, the news release said.

Before retiring honorably from the U.S. Navy, Justiniano achieved the rank of Chief Petty Officer. He also had assignments as a Master-at-Arms, Chief Master-at-Arms and a temporary Senior Enlisted Advisor in the Force Protection Department, according to the release. Justiniano has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice management and a master’s degree in administration of justice and security, both from the University of Phoenix.

More on the recruitment process

The Ames police chief position was posted in April on the city's job listings, and applications closed May 21 at noon. The job was 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 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 previously told the Ames Tribune.

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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.

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."

Isabella Rosario is a public safety reporter for the Ames Tribune. She can be reached by email at irosario@gannett.com or on Twitter at @irosarioc.