Rob Burdess

Chief, City of Newton, Iowa

Burdess and his wife Nicole receiving the 40 Under 40 Award at the Annual IACP Conference in Philadelphia October 23, 2017. Rob was the ISPA President in 2013.

In 2015, when CHIEF ROB BURDESS became the youngest chief of police in Newton Police Department’s history at the age of 37, his energy and natural leadership revitalized his department. Within 15 months of his appointment, the department implemented the first narcotics K9 program in more than 25 years and the first police motorcycle program in more than 70 years. They also re-wrote the department’s 400- page policy manual, developed a countywide Crime Stoppers program and countywide Substance Abuse Coalition, and reduced the City of Newton’s crime by over 20 percent, creating a more positive perception of the police department in the community and among staff. Early in his career as an officer, Chief Burdess noticed that agencies often struggle to locate missing children and fugitives, so he trained a bloodhound puppy for search and rescue. The dog was quickly certified as a police K9, and Chief Burdess went on to become an internationally recognized trainer who has spent the past two decades training officers and implementing bloodhound units in Europe and the United States. More recently, as president of the Iowa State Police Association, he established the Iowa Law Enforcement Purple Heart Award to recognize critically injured or deceased officers and their families. Chief Burdess was inspired to pursue a career in law enforcement by his father, who, as a volunteer firefighter, made a positive impact on his community. Chief Burdess was drawn to the service and comradery of the law enforcement community and is motivated by the meaningful work and impact law enforcement can have on a community.

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