BY JARED CORNIA, UTAH HIGHWAY PATROL ASSOCIATION, PRESIDENT
Recently I have heard phrases like “This job is not like it used to be” or “We used to be able to do this” or my favorite “Back when I started this job.”
I have heard these sayings from many different Troopers with different levels of experience. I have learned in this profession and through life’s experience that things will always change.
The law enforcement profession is constantly changing and adapting and the word “change” is often thought of in a bad way. The “changes” can be painful at times and are often received with much grumbling and resistance. Public perception and technology are the biggest initiators of the changes we have seen recently. We as individual officers need to stay informed and up to date on recent events and think about how the public perceives the actions we take.
Our administration is constantly adjusting and evaluating policy to try and stay ahead so that our agency and us as individual Troopers will be protected. There is an abundance of training available to keep us up to date and informed. Perhaps the biggest thing we can do is to use our common sense and make good, sound, professional decisions.
As Utah State Troopers we have the best technology and equipment in the State. We are the envy of other agencies for our equipment and the training opportunities we have available to us. I recently participated in some firearms training with many city and county officers. I was shocked to hear that many agencies only qualify with their duty weapons once a year and that some agencies had not qualified in several years. The common factor I found was that there was not enough money in the budget to buy practice ammunition. I also found that if an officer wanted a patrol rifle they had to buy their own rifle and ammunition. This is not confined to agencies in Utah. I recently talked with the representatives of many other State police agencies from all around the country at the National Trooper Convention. I found that here in Utah we have many things to be grateful for. Most other State agencies don’t get new vehicles until they have reached 200,000 or even 300,000 miles. Not to mention off-duty use. And no other agency that I talked to had the support of their administration the way that we do. Our administration fights for us both publicly and behind the scenes. As the UHPA President I have seen how much they care and how hard they fight for you. We have received compression raises the last four years and an increase in our top wage. No other agency I talked with can compare with the things that we have here in Utah.
Some changes that we have gone through lately have been painful and an adjustment to “the way things used to be”, but life is always changing. As the best law enforcement officers in the State of Utah and the United States we need to adapt and adjust to the “change” we face each day. I would like to thank each of you for the professional job you do each day and also thank you for the opportunity I have to represent you as the UHPA President. The work you do and the positive reflection and image you portray of the Utah Highway Patrol opens many doors and makes my job as President easier and very rewarding.