When I began my career with the State of Utah in November 1989, I never imagined I might someday be called upon to serve as the commissioner of this great Department of Public Safety. It’s amazing how time has flown by.
During these first few months of my term , I have felt the great responsibility that comes with serving in this important position, especially when it comes to ensuring the safety and needs of all 1,500 members of the department. The comforting part for me is that we have so many great directors and supervisors working to make our agency the best it can be for all of our employees. This is a never-ending process.
I am very fortunate to retain Colonel Danny Fuhr as our Superintendent of the Utah Highway Patrol. I’ve watched Col. Fuhr these past four years as he has developed his administrative team. I’ve been very impressed with his sincere and tireless advocacy for our troopers’ safety and welfare. It’s what people do to help others when no one will know about it that demonstrates their sincerity. I get to hear regularly and see behind the scenes what Col. Fuhr and his teams are doing in behalf of our troopers and I’m thankful.
I’m also grateful to have had 24 years of experiences in DPS that I can now draw upon to help me in advancing our agency and our services. I began my career as a trooper in the Uintah Basin after serving a year with the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office and two years with the Vernal City Police Department. That local experience has benefited me throughout my career in finding ways to work closer with our local agency partners. The reality is, there are only so many police officers throughout our state and it is imperative that we work together as effectively and efficiently as possible. Having served around the state and progressed through all of our ranks has provided me with perspective and understanding that ties heavily into the decisions I will need to make as commissioner.
My family and I know and recall the challenges and perils that come with serving as a UHP trooper. I also recall the great experiences and friendships that I established during those years. My years of service as a trooper and sergeant in our UHP field sections were my most rewarding. It was there that I often realized the direct results of being able to help people and my fellow officers. There is an unmatched sense of service and camaraderie in those positions.
I very humbled to be asked by Governor Herbert to lead our great agency with our exceptional employees. They are our highest priority and the key to keeping Utah the greatest and safest state in the country.
We are fortunate that in this day and age, fine men and women are inspired to serve in law enforcement for right and noble reasons. The Utah Highway Patrol and State Bureau of Investigation seek only the best of these candidates to represent state law enforcement at DPS. There is no more visible representative of our state government than a UHP Trooper. With every contact we make, we have an opportunity to positively represent our state’s residents and the leaders they elect to represent us. Utah is noted for its great quality of life, safe communities and safe highways. Our troopers are promoting this everyday throughout every part of our state.
I have asked our DPS directors and all employees in all divisions to find ways to work together more effectively and reduce the silos that can exist in agencies our size. I have termed this effort “ONE DPS.” Already, I am receiving reports of how our employees in various divisions are communicating with each other in discussing their challenges and how they can combine resources to improve services and create efficiencies. I have shared with all DPS employees my guiding principles for the next four years. These principles will help us identify and achieve goals that will benefit all our employees and the public we serve:
- TRANSPARENCY: Both internally and externally. We are working hard to do the right things for the right reasons with the goal of providing the best state public safety services possible. We will regularly communicate and share information with our employees and the public that we serve. This will be done through various forms of communication, including main stream media and social media efforts.
- PROVIDING EXCEPTIONAL PUBLIC SERVICE: Recognizing that with every interaction we have, we are representing our state, its residents and elected representatives who support our work and resources. When we work like we have competition for our services, our professionalism and outstanding service will shine.
- PARTNERSHIPS AND INTERAGENCY RELATIONSHIPS: Building relationships with all local, state and federal public safety partners will help us find better efficiencies and reduce duplication of services.
- TRAINING: We will ensure that our employees at all levels will receive the necessary training and educational opportunities that will help them be effective in their specific assignments and overall career success.
I will share more on ONE DPS and related initiatives in the future. I’ll close by expressing how very humbled I am to be asked by Governor Herbert to lead our great agency with our exceptional employees. They are our highest priority and the key to keeping Utah the greatest and safest state in the country. I appreciate their professionalism, exceptional work ethic and that they have sought a career to help others through their service at DPS. We truly have a great team!