Now that the months-long chief selection process is out of the way, newly named North Liberty police chief Diane Venenga is ready to get back to business.
“We’re going to get back to work,” Venenga said Friday.
Previously a lieutenant with the North Liberty Police Department, Venenga was named interim chief in February after the sudden departure of former Chief Jim Warkentin. Venenga has worked for the North Liberty Police Department during the entirety of its 14-year existence, during which it transitioned from a small town police department supported by the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office to a fully autonomous police force.
On Thursday, Mayor Tom Salm announced that Venenga had been selected to head the department. The selection came on the heels of a several months-long search that began with 50 applicants.
“This was a surprise and definitely an honor,” Venenga said of her selection.
Salm said on Thursday Venenga had some changes she wanted to implement while interim chief, but held off in the interest of waiting to see who was named chief. The department will now start rolling out some of those changes, which Venenga said she intends to sit down and prioritize.
Among the changes planned are increasing the size of the command staff from two sergeants to four. The North Liberty Police Department had been in the process of hiring one police officer, but with Venenga’s official promotion, she said they’ll hire a second new officer.
The department has also been toying around with the idea of changing the patch officers wear on their uniforms. Venenga said the new patches would give the department a “more consistent look across the board.”
Aside from aesthetic changes, Venenga said the public shouldn’t notice any changes in the way the police department operates.