Chuck Cychosz

Ryan M. Eft

“He is literally the smartest person I’ve ever met.”

That’s the first thing Geoff Huff, criminal investigation division commander for the Ames Police Department, wants people to know about Chief of Police Chuck Cychosz. Cychosz, a gentle-spoken man with barely graying hair and a habitual smile, was recently named Law Enforcement Executive of the Year for the state of Iowa by the Iowa Police Chiefs Association, but someone just talking to him on the street might never know the impact he’s made.

“[It’s] always an honor to be recognized by the people you work with everyday, so for me personally that recognition is nice,” Cychosz said.

That’s about all Cychosz wants to say concerning his own accomplishments, which is modest indeed for a man who is part of the Veisha Task Force and chairman of the association’s training committee. Starting in 1989, he worked on student affairs at Iowa State. “Throughout the course of that, [I] found that a lot of what I was doing to help students seemed to overlap with what the police were doing.”

His description of how he came to join the police department is as direct as the man himself. “[I] sort of slid across the street from student affairs into police work. Slid down the street from ISU Police to Ames Police, so here I am.”

The future of Veisha is possibly the most pressing issue on the minds of ISU students. Veishea is one of the busiest weekends for Ames and ISU Police during the year. “What should that event, what should our celebration, what should our spring look like, in light of today’s world? And I think acknowledging that we’ve had some very embarrassing and, at times, very dangerous incidents that have occurred on the unofficial side of this event.” 

To really understand how important Cychosz has been to Ames, Iowa State and the Police Department, it is best to turn to the people who work for him. Huff, who has been with the department for 20 years, is quick to emphasize his respect for all three chiefs he has worked under, but he’s quicker to praise Cychosz. 

“When you talk to the chief, any question that you pose, he never gives you a quick answer. You can literally see him processing that question and going through all the possible scenarios and outcomes in his head before he gives you a very thoughtful answer,” Huff said.

Huff also said how Cychosz handled the Veisha Riots (incident in April) this past April.

“It wasn’t too long after things started to go south on us, he was out there. And that was a very tense situation and you wouldn’t know it by looking at him,” Huff said.

Patrol Commander Jason Tuttle praised Cychosz’s role in bringing the University and the rest of Ames together. “I think he very much understands…the University and the city, how they interact together.”

Cychosz is eager to shine a spotlight on the rest of the department. “What I’m proud of…that’s a tricky word. But one of the things that I really believe is exceptional about the Ames police department is the caliber of the people we’ve been able to assemble here. This is a great community, great place to live.” 

Huff sums up Cychosz’s legacy, which he is still building, nicely.

“(He is) exactly the kind of person you need to be the Chief of Police.”