winder

MOAB — Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder was appointed as Moab’s next police chief Tuesday, pending approval of Moab City Council.

“Jim is the consummate public safety expert with decades of relevant experience. His approach to policing is exactly what Moab needs right now and I am heartened to know he will lead our department into the future,” Moab City Mayor Dave Sakrison said in a prepared statement.

Winder began as Salt Lake County Sheriff in 2007. He led various units within the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office prior to that.

At a press conference held in Salt Lake City Tuesday afternoon, Winder said he was looking forward to a new opportunity.

“I cannot begin to tell you how thrilled and excited I am about the opportunity for a new challenge in Moab,” he told a room filled with reporters. “Moab is a city — while not huge, it is quickly growing, it is diverse, it has so many things to offer, including something that is very critical to me and my family, and I think many people not only in the state of Utah but around the world and that is some of the most beautiful scenery on planet Earth.”

While Winder said focusing on his family was an important factor in his decision to seek the Moab police chief position, he intends on devoting “100 percent” of his attention on those living and visiting the city.

In addition to serving as Salt Lake County sheriff for 10 years, Winder also created the Unified Police Department in 2009, which serves various towns across the Salt Lake Valley. He served as police chief of that department since its inception. He also reopened Oxbow Jail in the same year.

While Winder said focusing on his family was an important factor in his decision to seek the Moab police chief position, he intends on devoting “100 percent” of his attention on those living and visiting the city.

In addition to serving as Salt Lake County sheriff for 10 years, Winder also created the Unified Police Department in 2009, which serves various towns across the Salt Lake Valley. He served as police chief of that department since its inception. He also reopened Oxbow Jail in the same year.

However, Winder said that he has dealt with “difficulties” over the past year, beginning around the time that Unified police officer Doug Barney was killed in January 2016 and carrying through other tragedies within the Salt Lake Valley.

“It changed me. It changed me a great deal going through that particular situation,” he said. “On the heels of that, I also had a number of other unrelated tragedies but a series of circumstances that occurred within the organization that affected me very deeply.

“It became evident that the size and scope and complexity of this organization was probably something for a variety of reasons I was less suited than I had previously been.”

He said that through this he had already decided he was not going to seek re-election in 2018. He was elected for his third term as sheriff in 2014.

“It simply was not in the cards for me,” he said.

The council vote to approve Sakrison’s appointment decision will be conducted in June.

Until that decision is made, Winder said he will continue to perform his duties as sheriff, including holding discussions about the new state jail contract and budgeting issues in the Sheriff’s Office and Unified police.

“We have a number of projects in the works — very, very important projects,” he said. “I will not take my eye off that. I can assure you of that.”

credit ksl