Douglas Diamond a Californian with 26 years in law enforcement has been selected as chief of the West Jordan Police Department, city officials announced Friday.
Diamond currently serves as police chief for Rancho Cordova, Calif., in the Sacramento metropolitan area, where he has worked in several different divisions over 22 years.
The Cedar City native is excited to return to Utah, and to his son and grandchildren, who live in Midvale. Diamond doesn't take the helm at West Jordan until Feb. 1 pending a routine background check but he already hopes to retire in the city.
That was a large part of Diamond's appeal to city leaders, said Mayor Melissa Johnson.
"We didn't want to be a training ground for someone who is just going to try us out for a few years," Johnson said. "We wanted somebody who wasn't just planning on stopping through."
But first he will have several challenges to deal with. The city has a very low officer-to-resident ratio, about 0.87, according to the Utah Fraternal Order of Police. The statewide average is 1.74. But city budgets are tight, and simply hiring an additional 30 officers is not feasible.
Diamond replaces West Jordan Chief Ken McGuire, who retired in June after 22 years with the city. Fire Chief Marc McElreath has been serving as the interim director of public safety.
"Anytime someone is in a position for a long time, they tend to stagnate a little bit," Diamond said. "I'm hoping to bring some fresh eyes."
Diamond says he has no plans for sweeping change right away, and instead he plans to get to know the officers and residents to evaluate the needs of the community. A new chief from out of state can make the department nervous, Diamond said, but he plans to take a moderate approach.
The City Council specifically wanted a chief who would build on the existing department, rather than come in and clean house, Johnson said.
"He has ideas of where we can improve, but he doesn't have such a strong agenda that we'll become a reincarnation of his past department," Johnson said.
Diamond was selected from a pool of 30 applicants. The top eight completed extensive questionnaires and were interviewed by phone. The top three candidates then visited the city and participated in a round of three panel interviews and a public-input social.
Diamond holds a bachelor's degree in justice administration from Brigham Young University. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and was named the 2008 Sacramento Sheriff's Department Manager of the Year.