Gov. Gary Herbert on Friday named Col. Keith D. Squires the commissioner of public safety.
The appointment follows a nationwide search to replace retiring Commissioner Lance Davenport. As the department’s current deputy commissioner, director of emergency management and the governor’s homeland security adviser, Squires has assisted in the oversight responsibility for 1,573 Department of Public Safety employees and a budget of $190 million.
“I am confident Keith Squires will bring the same commitment and professionalism to his new post that he has demonstrated as the deputy commissioner of public safety and as my homeland security advisor,” said Herbert in a prepared statement. “As a nationally-recognized leader in law enforcement and homeland security, Keith has earned the respect and admiration of Utah’s public safety community. He has the vision and skill to lead our public safety team forward as they work to serve and protect the citizens of our State.”
“Utah is recognized for its quality of life and great communities that are built upon having the best public safety services possible,” Squires said in a statement. “I look forward to working closely with all of our state’s public safety officials in finding innovative ways to coordinate our resources and provide the most efficient use of the public funds.”
Squires joined the Utah Highway Patrol in 1989 after working three years in local law enforcement. Prior to his post as deputy commissioner, Squires served as assistant superintendent of the Highway Patrol, director of the Utah State Bureau of Investigation and deputy director of the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. In the Highway Patrol, Squires served as a trooper, sergeant, lieutenant and captain.
As deputy commissioner, Squires has oversight responsibility for the directors of the State Bureau of Investigation, State Crime Lab, Statewide Information and Analysis Center, Division of Emergency Management, and the Driver License Division. In January 2012, he established a Utah DPS Cyber Crimes Law Enforcement Unit and proposed and implemented a nationwide network of the state law enforcement agencies to investigate domestic cyber-crimes.
Squires received an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Columbia College of Missouri and a master’s degree in Homeland Security and Defense from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy.
Squires is the current chairman of various national committees, including the President’s Director of National Intelligence State and Local Law Enforcement Advisory Board, as well as the National Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council, and was the National Governors Association’s Homeland Security Advisors Council chairman in 2012. He is the chairman of the four-state Rocky Mountain HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) Executive Board’s Intelligence Committee and represents Utah law enforcement on the eight-state Rocky Mountain Information Network (RMIN) Executive Board.
Squires, his wife, Keryl, and family reside in Morgan.
Squires will take his new post July 1.