Santa Clara, Ivins officials select new police chief from within department’s ranks

Jaron Studley will replace Bob Flowers, who is retiring to become head of security for Black Desert Resort

(Santa Clara-Ivins Police Department) New Santa Clara-Ivins police chief Jaron Studley is pinned by his wife, Ashley, when Studley was promoted to lieutenant in 2022.

Ivins • In need of a new police chief, Ivins city officials wasted little time, opting to promote from within rather than conduct a statewide or national search.

After garnering unanimous approval from the Ivins City Council earlier this month, Jaron Studley was sworn in Thursday as the new police chief of the Santa Clara-Ivins Police Department. Studley is replacing Bob Flowers, who is retiring after 16 years as police chief and will shortly become head of security for Black Desert Resort in east Ivins.

In searching for Flowers’ replacement, Mayor Chris Hart said it became evident that the department already had several top-notch officers who were worthy of consideration for police chief waiting in the wings. Even if the city had posted the position statewide and received dozens of applications, he added, it would have been difficult to find someone more suitable than Studley.

“We concluded that we weren’t going to find anybody who knew and cared more about our two cities and would be more conscientious or considerate of our residents,” the mayor said about Studley, an 18-year veteran with the department.

Ivins and Santa Clara have an agreement that essentially merges the two cities’ police and fire departments. Ivins manages the police department, and Santa Clara oversees the fire and emergency services. That means only Ivins council members voted to approve Studley, although Hart and others say their Santa Clara counterparts fully support his selection.

For his part, Studley said becoming police chief fulfills a longstanding dream. His first foray into public service in the area was as a volunteer firefighter 22 years ago. When some openings in the police department surfaced several years later, however, Studley recalls picking up an application on then-Police Chief Wade Carpenter’s desk.

On the form, applicants were directed to write what position in the department most excited them.

“And, in my infinite wisdom,” Studley recalled, “I decided to write the words ‘chief of police’ on the paper and handed it in.”

Now, 18 years later, Studley acknowledges his dream job will be demanding. He will oversee a $3.5 million annual budget, the 17-member police department and the Santa Clara-Ivins animal shelter. He will also be tasked with simultaneously keeping pace with the two cities’ rapid growth while delivering the quality policing that he and others say the public has come to expect from the department.

(Santa Clara-Ivins Police Department) New Santa Clara-Ivins police chief Jaron Studley, left, in a ceremony with then chief Bob Flowers in 2022.

“I recognize that I’ve been handed a ship by Chief Flowers that is running very strong in its course,” he said. “I plan on maintaining that course and the trust and support we have from our community. My goal is to never give my community a reason to lose the trust it has in us.”

Studley said he recognizes he has some big shoes to fill. In addition to Flowers’ service as Santa Clara-Ivins police chief, his resume includes stints as St. George police chief, Utah Department of Public Safety commissioner, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Region 8 office in Denver, Colo., and Salt Lake County’s emergency management coordinator.

“We were lucky to have him,” Hart said. “He has commanded the respect and admiration of the officers that have worked under him, both our city councils and anybody who has had anything to do with him.”

While Studley lacks Flowers’ breadth of experience, the mayor said Studley’s close association with Flowers, the respect he has from fellow officers and his outstanding service to the department and residents will stand him in good stead.

Studley holds a bachelor’s degree in criminology from former Dixie State University and an MBA from California Coast University. Longtime Ivins residents, he and his wife Amber are the parents of three children.