William “Bill” O’Neal, a 23-year veteran of Sandy’s police force and the department’s chief since July 2018, died Sunday.
He was 48 years old.
O’Neal died at 4:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon, after “an unfortunate medical event,” a department news release said Monday. He “subsequently passed away from natural causes,” the department said. No further details are being released, pending a report from the medical examiner, a department spokesman said.
Greg Severson, the deputy chief, will become the interim chief, the department’s release said.
O’Neal had worked in the Sandy Police Department since August 1996, the department said.
He was named interim chief in April 2018, after the abrupt firing of his predecessor, Kevin Thacker, following accusations of “inappropriate touching” of other city employees. O’Neal, who had been Thacker’s deputy chief, was given the job outright in July 2018, after a nationwide job search.
When O’Neal was given the job full time, Sandy Mayor Kurt Bradburn said that O’Neal was “innovative and forward-thinking … and has risen to the challenges placed on him as the interim police chief.”
Other Utah law enforcement agencies expressed their condolences via Twitter. “You will be missed Chief,” a tweet from West Jordan police read.
Tweets on Sunday night from the Davis County Sheriff’s Office and West Valley Police also expressed sympathies to O’Neal’s loved ones and colleagues. Murray Police, Unified Police and the city of Eagle Mountain posted condolences Monday.