CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — The Cedar Rapids City Council will vote this Tuesday on the selection of a new police chief.

David Dostal, with local roots in Cedar Rapids, was announced Feb. 12, 2024, at the top choice out of four finalists. Dostal grew up in southwest Cedar Rapids, attended LaSalle High School and graduated from Cornell College in Mount Vernon.

City Manager Jeff Pomeranz, who made the selection, cited the respect Dostal has earned within the department among other qualities.

If approved by the City Council, Dostal would replace Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman, who announced his retirement last year, after reaching age 66, and “aging out” of his law enforcement certification under Iowa law. Deputy Chief Tom Jonker has served as interim chief.

Dostal lives in Cedar Rapids and has been married to his wife, Melissa, for 30 years. Together, they have one son, Nolan, who has served as a police officer with the Cedar Rapids Police Department since 2021. Dostal will be the 28th police chief in the department’s history.

The Cedar Rapids City Council will consider David Dostal as the next police chief for the city. (photo/city of Cedar Rapids)

Read more of today’s announcement from the city of Cedar Rapids:

Tomorrow, City Manager Jeff Pomeranz will seek the consent of the City Council to appoint David L. Dostal as the City’s next Police Chief during the regular City Council meeting at Noon in council chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 101 First Street SE.

“David stood out thanks to his extensive background and experience across all areas of law enforcement, his long track record of leadership focused on building strong community partnerships, and the respect he has earned within the Department, City organization, and throughout our community,” said Pomeranz. “I am confident he will do a phenomenal job as our next Chief of Police.”

“I am humbled by this opportunity,” said Dostal. “I appreciate City Manager Pomeranz’s confidence in my ability to serve the Police Department and I look forward to the outcome of tomorrow’s Council meeting.”

Dostal has served his entire career with the Cedar Rapids Police Department, starting as a Police Officer in 1991. Since that time, he has served as a patrol officer, field-training officer, member of the special-response team, bike-patrol officer and instructor, and honor guard member. He was assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Task Force Officer investigating Federal drug cases.

Dostal was then promoted to Sergeant in 2006, during which time he oversaw the Police Officer Reserve Unit, served as a Neighborhood Association liaison, provided instruction with the Cedar Rapids Regional Police Academy, and supervised Narcotics/Vice in the Criminal Investigation Division. He has assisted in various Local, State, and Federal drug investigations during which he worked closely with the Cedar Rapids City Attorney, Linn County Attorney, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa.

In 2016, Dostal was promoted to Lieutenant, during which time he worked first as a Patrol Shift Commander and then oversaw the operations of the Criminal Investigation Division, including such areas of responsibility as crimes against persons, property crimes, narcotics/vice, youth services, and intelligence. He was promoted to the rank of Captian in 2023 and was most recently assigned to the Administrative Operations Division, where his responsibilities have included providing training and oversight for the Cedar Rapids Regional Police Academy and oversight of the Joint Communications Agency, Records, Animal Care and Control, and Buildings and Grounds divisions.

Dostal holds a Bachelor of Arts from Cornell College and has received numerous professional development certifications across a variety of topics, including graduation from the Police Executive Research Forum Senior Management Institute for Police in 2021. He has received several awards and recognitions, including Recruit Officer of The Year, Community Service Award, Commendation of Heroism, Police Officer of the Year, Employee of the Quarter, and the Enrique “Kiki” Camarena Award presented by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration recognizing Dostal’s efforts to make Cedar Rapids a drug-free community.

The City hired the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and worked with the Cedar Rapids Civil Service Commission to find qualified applicants for the Police Chief position through a nationwide search. IACP leveraged an extensive network of law enforcement professionals and marketing best practices in their outreach efforts.

A community-feedback-driven process informed the creation of a Candidate Profile used in the job posting. The process included stakeholder interviews to gather diverse perspectives, a detailed job analysis to understand the intricacies of the role, an evaluation of the policing environment to comprehend challenges and opportunities, and community and City Department engagement through surveys. IACP used insights gained through the process to build a Police Chief Candidate Profile that reflects the needs of the position in serving the Cedar Rapids community.

The City received 17 applications for the position. The Civil Service Commission identified 14 of the applicants as candidates qualified to move on to a virtual, structured interview phase. Following this phase, the Civil Service Commission identified eight candidates to proceed to an assessment center phase, designed in accordance with the “Guidelines for Ethical Considerations for Assessment Center Operations,” issued by the International Task Force on Assessment Center Guidelines. The Civil Service Commission provided written interview questions for the semi-finalists to complete as part of the Assessment Center phase. Seven candidates remained after the Assessment Center phase.

The Civil Service Commission met on December 13, 2023, to interview the remaining candidates. The Commission certified a list of four candidates on January 30, 2024. Pomeranz invited all four finalists to interviews in Cedar Rapids on February 7.

“I was proud to have four highly qualified candidates to consider out of a healthy pool of applicants, driven by a transparent, community-driven process. I appreciate the Civil Service Commission’s work to present the Certified List and all the community members who participated in the process and shared their feedback with me,” said Pomeranz.

Pomeranz also invited members of several community groups engaged throughout the Civil Service process to participate in interview panels, including all members of the City’s Executive Team; a selection committee, including a member of the Citizen Review Board as laid out in Chapter 74.03 of Municipal Code; a six-person focus group from the Police Department, which participated throughout the process to maintain a steady line of communication regarding the search process open to Police Department employees; and a group of community members committed to enhancing community-police relationships, each passionate about ensuring the selected Police Chief is the most-qualified candidate for the community. In addition, numerous members of the public attended a meet and greet event with the candidates. Additional information about the search process can be found on the City website: www.CityofCR.com/PoliceChief

Using feedback received throughout the process — including surveys from interview panel members, data gathered from community members used to build the Candidate Profile, each candidate’s experience, and scores provided by the Civil Service Commission — Pomeranz selected David Dostal as the candidate whose qualifications most closely matched the community-created Police Chief Candidate Profile.

While looking forward to Dostal’s installment, Pomeranz explained that the process is not yet complete. “It is important we respect the overall process as outlined in City Code. Attaining the City Council’s consent is an important next step, and I look forward to their consideration tomorrow,” said Pomeranz.

Pomeranz submitted a letter to the City Council requesting their consent in Dostal’s appointment. The Council will consider the matter in accordance with Municipal Code Chapter 7 — Police Department at their meeting on Tuesday.

Other finalists under consideration were:

Jennifer Birkhofer, an Iowa native with close to 20 years of service. She holds a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. She is a graduate of the FBI National Academy who began her law enforcement career working in Corrections in Pottawatomie County in 2004. In 2005 she transitioned to being a Deputy Sheriff at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office in Omaha, Nebraska.

Jeff Coday, a 23-year veteran of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. He’s been a Captain since 2018 having also served as the Bureau Commander of Internal Affairs. He has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Southwest Missouri State University and a Master of Science in Crisis and Emergency Management from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. He is also a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command and the FBI National Academy.

Tom Whitten, the current Chief Deputy for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. He has a bachelor’s in criminal justice administration, two master’s degrees in both criminal justice administration and public administration, and he holds a Master Peace Officer certification from Texas. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.