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Heber Police Chief Dave Booth to retire Sept. 30

Heber City Police Chief Dave Booth
Heber City Police Chief Dave Booth.

Heber City Police Chief Dave Booth announced he will retire this fall. The city plans to conduct a nationwide search for a replacement. 

Booth told KPCW he has already passed along some duties to colleagues and plans to gradually step away before his official retirement day Sept. 30.

Since the beginning of the year, Deputy Chief Jeremy Nelson has taken on administrative responsibilities including the budget. He said he didn’t plan to apply to become the next permanent chief.

Booth said in between now and September, he’ll focus on training and making sure others in the office understand the ins and outs of how to run the department.

“I really wanted the department to understand everything that I was doing,” Booth said. “Being a chief of a small department, there's a lot of things that you have to be involved in, you have to have your hands in. It's not like being a chief of a larger department where maybe they don't touch a lot of things. With a smaller department we do get involved in a lot of stuff such as building budget, putting fleets together, hiring.”

At a city council meeting Tuesday, Mayor Heidi Franco said the city needs to begin the replacement process as soon as possible. She said it will consider candidates nationwide.

“I’ve always said, from the very beginning, that this is going to be a wide-open search,” Franco said. “Whoever is internal or external is going to have to compete together. We want the very best candidate.”

Booth advised the next chief to keep strong relationships with community members.

“At the end of the day, it's so important that our police department understands what our citizens need, what they want, and that they do their best to try and meet that,” he said.

He called his relationship with the community one of his main successes as chief. He said his relationship with business leaders is especially important because the city’s business tax revenue is one of the department’s main funding sources.

He’s also proud of the Peer Court, which is a body of local students who review cases of minor offenses by fellow minors. Booth touted its high success rate, with many offenders clearing their records with community service.

He said challenges during his tenure included navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, rapid population growth and the arrival of thousands of people to Heber in the Rainbow Family Gathering in 2014.

He also reflected on a 2021 investigation into a use of force complaint against him, when he was on administrative leave for about a month.

“I think it's important that any governmental agency always takes complaints seriously and looks at them to ensure that no wrong was done. At the end of the day, I was doing my job,” he said. “I was backing my officers up. As a small-town chief, you do get out on calls, you do rub shoulders with your officers out there, and you do have to help them. You definitely need to look at it and ensure that everything is right where it's supposed to be, and in my case, it was. I knew that was the case. I was never worried about it.”

The city took Booth off leave in early August 2021 and cleared him of all wrongdoing.

Booth began as chief of Heber City Police in November 2012. Before that, he was chief deputy at the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and also worked for Park City Police, Vernal Police and Orem Police departments.

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