PAGE – When Drew C. Sanders was sworn in as the new chief for the Page Police Department, he started work last Monday and then conducted a full department meeting the very next day.
The first thing he did was acknowledge Page Police Lt. Timothy Lange for his five-month service as interim chief and then discussed some changes that need to be carried out within the agency, among a list of others.
“Then I discussed my priorities and what we’re going to work on as an agency,” said Sanders, who came to Page after spending 27 years with the West Jordan Police Department in West Jordan, Utah. “Things (here) have been running rather well."
Sanders said there’s no radical changes underway, but only internally.
“I don’t know if you can call them ‘radical,’ but some significant changes internally,” Sanders said. “But that’s not to say we are broken in any way. It’s more of administrative changes on how we’re going to approach a few things.”
One of those changes is hiring new police department staff, said Sanders.
“One of my first priorities–– top priorities are the hiring processes,” Sanders explained. “We have three openings. We are in the process of issuing a conditional offer to a new recruit.”
Sanders said the department leadership recently tested three individuals who would make good candidates for police officers. But only one qualified.
“In law enforcement, we still have a lot of steps to go through,” Sanders said, “so we hope that, that person is successful.”
As time progresses, he says, there will be some significant changes in the police department’s hiring process.
“These guys have done a very good job until now,” Sanders said about the department. “I’m hoping that we could just make it a little more … better (and) a little … quicker.”
On the internal process side, Sanders said, the agency is going to address the intoxication problem in downtown Page more effectively, though it is a big struggle.
“The law enforcement – I will tell you – is not the answer,” Sanders said. “It’s only part of the big picture and we are going to be partnering with different entities, I hope, and address this problem a little differently. We’ll approach it differently.”
And to do that, the police department needs to get some players involved, said Sanders. In a more significant way.
“The repeat cycle of arrests and detention and then release–– the revolving door does not work,” he explained. “It’s a very – underlined twice – temporary solution. It’s not even a Band-Aid, but I can tell what really needs to take place is we need to get other entities involved on the medical side, on the social services side, on the treatment side.”
To solve this issue, the police department staff will have to collaborate with local businesses that provide alcoholic beverages, according to the Page Police.
“We do not want to hamper their business in any way, but it affects them as well,” Sanders explained. “And the quality of business, the quality of life–– these are really quality of life issues for our city. But as we progress, we really got to come up with some effective measures.
Editor’s note: This is part one of two stories about the new Page Police chief settling in to his new role.