New Colorado City police chief ‘hits the ground running’

Composite image created by Cody Blowers | St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A new chief took the helm at the Colorado City Marshal’s Office in Arizona Monday after a painstaking recruitment process that spanned several months.

L to R: Colorado City Mayor Joseph Allred, newly appointed Police Chief Mark Askerlund of the Colorado City Marshal’s Office and Hildale Mayor Donia Jessop during Hildale City Council meeting, Hildale, Utah, May 23, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Jared Nicol, St. George News

“I feel we have found the person we were looking for in that he is seasoned but not hardened, compassionate but not soft and flexible but not spineless,” Colorado City Mayor Joseph Allred told St. George News Tuesday.

Mark Askerlund was appointed May 23 at the Hildale City Council meeting and made official the following day in a joint statement from Allred and Hildale Mayor Donia Jessop.

The Colorado City Marshal’s Office provides police coverage for Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale.

Askerlund’s appointment was months in the making as officials searched for a candidate who could see the police department with a “fresh set of eyes,” Allred said in an earlier interview with St. George News. 

Askerlund “hit the ground running,” he said, bringing a “wealth of knowledge and experience needed to the department.”

The new chief met with the officers now under his command, including three who were sworn in May 18, Allred said, adding that the meeting went well and “it appears that their working relationship is off to a good start.”

Read more: Colorado City Marshal’s Office adds 3 new officers

Jessop said she is “extremely pleased with the new chief” and is inspired by Askerlund’s willingness and experience to “help rebuild our community.”

Askerlund was not immediately available for comment.

Officials hired an outside consultant and used other law enforcement professionals to guide them through the interview and selection process, Jessop said.

Patrol vehicle parked in front of the Colorado City Marshal’s Office, Colorado City, Arizona | File photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Allred added that compliance requirements placed upon the Marshal’s Office made it necessary to find a candidate from “outside of the area,” he said, with “more depth to their experience” and capable of navigating through the myriad terms and conditions imposed by the courts.

Askerlund has more than 35 years of law enforcement experience, starting in 1982 as a patrol officer with the Salt Lake City Police Department. He served in various positions within the agency, including SWAT, vice, narcotics and the detectives division, where he was promoted to sergeant.  

He continued moving up the ranks and served as the lieutenant over special investigations until he retired from the agency in 2006. 

He then helped develop and launch the new police department in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, and after nine years with the department he retired from the agency in 2017 as a lieutenant over the patrol division.

Married with four children and 16 grandchildren, Askerlund “is looking forward to helping the Marshal’s Office provide the highest level of professional service to the citizens of Hildale and Colorado City Arizona,” according to the joint statement.

The sister cities along the Utah-Arizona border have undergone unprecedented change with court settlements on both sides of the border.

For Colorado City, the City Council in March relieved Police Chief Jerry Darger of his duties and hired the three new officers.

Read more: Colorado City police chief relieved of duties by Town Council

In Hildale, November’s election ushered in Jessop and three council members who were not affiliated with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints – a first in the town’s history. The church had long controlled the two towns.

Shortly after taking office, city officials had to fill multiple positions in the government after several active FLDS members resigned.

On May 18, in a move to improve relations with local and state governments, the Hildale City Council unanimously decided to withdraw its appeal of a federal court decision that city officials had denied housing and municipal services to residents who lived outside the sect, using the police to enforce the discrimination.

The united effort by Allred and Jessop in hiring the new police chief demonstrates that both officials “are working together and want what is best for both communities,” Hildale City Council member Jared Nicol said.

He went on to say that Allred put it best in saying that “Askerlund’s hiring is like hitting the reset button and moving forward for the Marshal’s Office.”

Allred added in an earlier interview that the two municipal governments are evolving to meet the demands of the communities.

Askerlund’s efforts will be focused on bringing unity to the struggling communities, according to the statement, as well as “developing good working relationships with surrounding law enforcement agencies,” he said.

[Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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5 Comments

  • Carpe Diem May 30, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    Wondering what Warren Jeffs had to say about all this.

    Well, with the FLDS members quitting, I guess it was “Answer them Nothing”…

    Wondering when the exodus to Mexico will happen.

  • comments May 30, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    New Colorado City police chief ‘hits the ground running’…..

    here you go… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xx86CxKYtg0

    lol

    • ladybugavenger May 31, 2018 at 6:29 am

      Lol

      • comments May 31, 2018 at 11:11 am

        I figured you’d appreciate that one. 1980s all they way. hahahah

  • Happy Day May 31, 2018 at 8:04 am

    He looks like he will blend right in?

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