DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Public Safety Commissioner Larry Noble is retiring from the job for a second time.
Noble told employees in an email this week that he will step down Jan. 9, about 16 months after he returned to lead the agency amid turmoil.
The former trooper whose work at the department spans five decades had served as commissioner under Gov. Terry Branstad from January 2011 until retiring in July 2012. Noble returned in September 2013 after a series of problems during the 11-month tenure of his replacement, Commissioner K. Brian London.
Branstad asked London to resign after employees complained about his management style and said morale was plummeting. The department faced negative publicity about London's firing of a veteran criminal investigator who had complained about a speeding state vehicle driving the governor.
Branstad said he asked Noble, a former Republican state senator who had served on Branstad's security detail in the 1980s, to return as a "personal favor" to return the agency to a sense of normalcy.
Noble told employees in his message that he was proud of the accomplishments of the department, which includes the Iowa State Patrol, the Division of Criminal Investigation and other offices. The department has 958 employees and a $122 million operating budget.
"Knowing that you are such great people that do great things is what makes it so much easier for me to once again retire," wrote Noble, 64.
Branstad praised Noble's long service to the state, saying in a statement that his "sterling reputation and respect among law enforcement personnel" were critical to his successful tenure at the department.
Branstad does not have a timeline for appointing Noble's replacement, spokesman Jimmy Centers said.
"The governor will conduct a search for a qualified, dedicated individual who understands the mission of ensuring the safety of Iowans and the culture of the department," Centers said.
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