‘This was a really easy decision’; St. George city promotes new police chief

St. George Police Chief Richard Farnsworth at St. George City Hall, St. George, Utah, Oct. 4, 2018 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — St. George’s newly promoted chief of police says he will give the position his “very best” and that he is surrounded by the right people to help him along the way.

In this file photo, St. George Police Chief Marlon Stratton speaks at a gathering in St. George, Utah, July 10, 2016. Stratton retired in September 2018 after serving 18 years as police chief. | File photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

After bidding adieu last week to Marlon Stratton, who led the St. George Police Department for nearly 18 years, the St. George City Council voted unanimously Thursday evening to promote Richard Farnsworth as the new chief of police during a public meeting with a packed audience at City Hall.

Farnsworth, who served previously as deputy chief, is a 25-year veteran of the police force in St. George.

“I think this was a no-brainer,” Councilwoman Michele Randall said. “This was a really easy decision for us.

“I think he’s going to take over, and it’s going to be a seamless transition. And he’s going to be a great leader for the future of our department, and we’re very excited that he accepted.”

Farnsworth told the City Council that he plans to maintain the strong relationship the department has with city officials.

“I appreciate the vote of confidence, and I assure all of you that you will get my very best effort,” he said in response to the council’s affirmation.

Farnsworth said Stratton left the department in a very good position. He and Stratton go way back, having worked together since when they were both patrol officers in the early 1990s.

Read more: St. George Police Chief Marlon Stratton announces retirement after 34 years with the department

“I think he left us in great shape, and we’ll just continue on like we have done,” Farnsworth told St. George News.

Farnsworth said his confidence in the future of the department is born from the faith he has in the officers and other emergency personnel who make up the department. During Thursday’s meeting, he recognized several people in management positions at the department and took the opportunity to promote two officers to new positions.

Surrounded by fellow officers, St. George Police Chief Richard Farnsworth addresses the City Council, St. George, Utah, Oct. 4, 2018 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

Kyle Whitehead, previous captain of the department’s patrol division, was named deputy chief. Curtis Spragg, previously a patrol lieutenant, will take over Whitehead’s position as captain of the patrol division.

“What a stellar group of individuals,” Farnsworth said. “I’m honored to stand here with them, and we’re going to do great things.”

City Manager Adam Lenhard said the assembled team of captains and the department’s dispatch manager, Cindy Flowers, represent the “very best of St. George.”

“We know that for each one of you, and of course all of the officers who serve with you, there are long nights,” Lenhard said. “Many hours away from your families doing a very hard job.”

Mayor Jon Pike also used the occasion to recognize the family members of the gathered officers.

“I just want you to know, family members, how much we appreciate these men and women in our police department,” he said. “We support you 100 percent, and we will always do that.”

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

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  • Not_So_Much October 5, 2018 at 7:37 am

    Congratulations all the way around. Could we get more patrol units on the streets to aid in reducing some of the crazy driving? Thanks.

    • mesaman October 5, 2018 at 8:54 pm

      Great choice. Now city council, increase the number of officers, consistent with the “fastest growing city in the universe” chatter. More visibility equals more conscientious drivers, in my book.

      • DRT October 6, 2018 at 1:03 pm

        Actually just having the cars on the streets do very little to make drivers more aware of how they are driving. However, observing traffic stops will often make a driver check what they are doing. And then you have the blooming idiots that figure, “I can do anything I want to do. The cop is tied up with somebody else…”

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