DES MOINES – Gov. Terry Branstad is beginning the search for a new public safety commissioner after K. Brian London stepped down as leader of the state Department of Public Safety.

Branstad’s office has not officially confirmed London’s departure, but officials close to the agency say word went out Tuesday night that London had resigned a post he was appointed to by the Iowa governor last fall.

“I heard he resigned,” said Rep. Clel Baudler, R-Greenfield, a former state trooper who is chairman of the House Public Safety Committee. Asked if he knew who was acting DPS leader, he said: “As of yesterday, I have no idea. I know there has been no change in each division leadership. Now, the head of the department, the commissioner, he’s changed and I’m sure somebody will be named I would guess today.”

DPS officials referred questions regarding London and the leadership of the department to the governor’s office. So far, Branstad’s office has not responded to requests for information.

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In selecting London, 60, to succeed Larry Noble as DPS commissioner last September, Branstad tapped a career law enforcement man who had held posts at the Secret Service, the Central Intelligence Agency and INTERPOL to run the Iowa Department of Public Safety.

Within a month after taking the DPS reins, London announced personnel changes last November that included a change of leadership for the Iowa State Patrol. The organizational restructuring caused some issues within the agency that drew the attention of state lawmakers during London’s successful confirmation.

More recently, London’s agency has been embroiled in a controversy stemming from the firing of former DCI officer Larry Hedlund in the wake of a speeding incident involving a state trooper transporting Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds in an unmarked state vehicle.