ADEL, Iowa — Most days nearly 100 state employees make sure truckers aren’t hauling too much freight, aren’t carrying anything illegal, and have properly inflated tires. Soon the personnel with motor vehicle enforcement could also add to their duties.
On Tuesday, Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill into law that would transfer the employees, who currently work under the Department of Transportation, to the Department of Public Safety.
The employees won’t go through the same training as state troopers. But they could now be more readily available to help with nearby roadside emergencies.
“I really don’t see a lot of change in the day-to-day operations,” said Motor Vehicle Enforcement Chief Tom Bruun. “The focus is still going to be commercial motor vehicles. Officers will be handling some accident reports and stuff like that that we didn’t do in the past. But the day-to-day operations, the core function, still have to stay the same because the trucking industry has a big effect on the safety of the systems.”
There will be some changes that law enforcement officials declined to specify following the bill signing. Colonel Nathan Fulk of the Iowa Department of Public Safety said that leadership wants to first meet with impacted personnel next week to explain the changes.
“We’re going to brief all troopers and motor vehicle enforcement with an in-depth overview of how we’re going to align our resources,” Fulk said. “So, we’ll talk about that in greater detail.”
Fulk said that there are currently 365 state troopers and 98 motor vehicle enforcement officers.
Two decades ago, Iowa employed nearly 500 state troopers and capitol police officers.