SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE DON SCHNITKER TO HEAD NEW GOVERNOR’S SCHOOL SAFETY BUREAU
July 14, 2022
DES MOINES, Iowa – Less than one month after Governor Kim Reynolds launched a $100-million-dollar program designed to enhance school safety throughout Iowa, the Iowa Department of Public Safety announced Special Agent In Charge (SAC) Don Schnitker to serve as the Chief of the Governor’s School Safety Bureau.
“I’m pleased that SAC Schnitker has been chosen to lead this important bureau tasked with implementing preventative measures to secure our schools,” said Gov. Reynolds. “SAC Schnitker’s strong leadership skills and extensive law enforcement experience will be extremely beneficial for the bureau while utilizing innovative technology, providing training, and conducting intelligence monitoring. I’m confident the Governor’s School Safety Bureau will be a great resource for our schools and local law enforcement partners while helping to protect our most precious and valuable assets—our children.”
“We’re excited to have Don on board as he can hit the ground running on this critical initiative. He has the leadership, passion, and dogged determination needed to effectively implement, coordinate, and promote the Governor’s School Safety Bureau across Iowa,” said Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens. “He and his team will work shoulder to shoulder with the Department of Education, local law enforcement, internal stakeholders, vendor partners and the general public for the common goal of providing a safe place for our children to learn and grow.
SAC Schnitker graduated from Iowa State University in 2000 with a BS/BA in Psychology and Sociology. Don is a graduate of the 28th DPS Basic Academy with 21 years of law enforcement experience. For the last 17 years, he has been a Special Agent in the Division of Criminal Investigation’s Major Crime Unit assigned to the division’s 21-county central Iowa zone. In addition to those duties, SAC Schnitker assisted in the creation of the Iowa Child Abduction Response Team (CART), which provides instruction at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy and DPS Academy, and is a Firearms Instructor. Don lives in the Des Moines area with his wife and two school-aged sons, and assumed his new role on Friday, July 8.
In the coming days and weeks, SAC Schnitker will be building the Governor’s School Safety Bureau team from the ground up. It will consist of an advanced criminal intelligence analyst to identify and assess threats, a training specialist to oversee law enforcement and civilian response training efforts, five communication specialists to monitor a threat reporting platform, and an administrative assistant to coordinate logistics and training. The new Bureau will be located within the Iowa Department of Public Safety. It is expected that the remainder of the Bureau’s team will be in place as K-12 classes resume this fall. The Division of Criminal Investigation, to include its Cyber Crime Bureau and Major Case Unit, also stand ready to provide investigative assistance wherever needed.
In June, Governor Kim Reynolds announced the formation of the Governor’s School Safety Bureau and $100 million in school safety funding to support Iowa’s 327 public school districts and 183 non-public and independent schools.
This dedicated new funding will provide vulnerability risk assessments free of charge for all 1,500 K-12 school buildings in the state and create a School Safety Improvement Fund making up to $50,000 available per school building to implement recommended safety measures. School districts can combine these funds with their ESSER funding allocations to cover additional costs to implement safety improvements.
PHOTO: Special Agent In Charge Don Schnitker
ABOUT THE IOWA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
The Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS) is the largest law enforcement agency in the state. It includes six divisions and several bureaus, all working together with local, state and federal government agencies and the private sector, to keep Iowa a safe place by following our core values: leadership, integrity, professionalism, courtesy, service and protection. Divisions within the Iowa DPS: Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, Iowa State Patrol, Iowa State Fire Marshal Division, Iowa Division of Intelligence and Fusion Center, and Administrative Services Division. The Department of Public Safety is led by the Commissioner who is appointed by the Governor.