Iowa Department of Corrections names new Security Operations Director

The corner of the prison wall at Anamosa State Penitentiary.
The corner of the prison wall at Anamosa State Penitentiary.(KCRG File)
Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 4:43 PM CDT
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - The Iowa Department of Corrections (DOC) has named a new Security Operations Director.

The Board of Corrections announced Brian Foster would be taking the position during their meeting on Friday.

Foster has worked in corrections since 1985 and is the current Security Chief for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, a position he took in May 2020.

Prior to his current position, Foster served as the Warden of the Waupun Correctional Institution, the Green Bay Correctional Institution, and the Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution.

Foster has also served as a Deputy Warden at Kettle Moraine and as an Executive Officer at the Fort Dodge Correctional Institution from 2006 to 2010, where he helped oversee the Department’s compliance with American Correctional Association standards.

Once he begins working his new position, Foster’s primary responsibilities will be to assess the prisons for areas of security improvement, to make recommendations to wardens and the director on ways that prisons can be physically modified in order to provide more secure environments and to assess security-related policies and procedures in order to improve upon them.

Commenting on Foster’s hiring, Department Director Beth Skinner said:

Hiring Security Operations Director Foster is one of many steps we are taking to improve the overall security across this department, but it’s an incredibly important one. We need fresh eyes from someone with a strong security background to look at all of our prisons and tell us what areas we can improve on in the near future and in the long term. When we need to make investments to improve security, whether that be in infrastructure or in staffing levels, he will be making recommendations on how and where to strategically invest the taxpayers’ dollars. Our department has been making various efforts to increase security across the system, and I am grateful Brian is bringing his considerable experience to our state to help us in our mission to have the safest prisons possible.

The move comes less than two months after the deaths of Anamosa State Penitentiary staffers Robert McFarland and Lorena Schulte, both killed during a botched escape attempt on March 23rd.

The DOC has also named current Communications Director, Cord Overton, as Chief of Staff of the Department. In addition to overseeing internal and external communications, Overton will also oversee government affairs, the corrections information technology division, cross-division management and coordination, and department strategic planning.

The DOC is also interviewing applicants for the position of warden of the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility and North Central Correctional Facility. The Department says they expect an announcement for that position in the near future.  

Investigations related to the Anamosa staff killings are ongoing.

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