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GARLAND, Box Elder County — Word spreads fast in small towns like Garland. Eddie Barella should know; he's lived there since 1977.
"You know, there ain't too much trouble here. And everybody is friendly here. That's the main part,” said Eddie Barella, just after mowing his lawn Thursday afternoon. However, maybe it’s because almost everybody knows everybody, that word here seems to travel extra fast.
Then again, when that word is that the new mayor, only in office four months, fired the police chief who had been here more than 20 years, you can’t blame people for talking.
"I knew going in it wasn't going to be an easy decision,” said Scott Coleman, Garland’s new mayor. “However, if our police chief wasn't operating effectively and the police department wasn't operating effectively, we've got problems. And that's where we were at."
Coleman, who is a former Garland city council member, knows the former police chief, Linda Bourne, was well liked. Bourne was also Utah's first female police chief. However, Coleman says after looking at things that had been done in the department for several years, a new chief and a new direction would be best for Garland.
You know, there ain't too much trouble here. And everybody is friendly here. That's the main part.
–Eddie Barella, Garland resident
"You know, a report wasn't filed, maybe a child didn't get taken out of a bad situation that should have because a report took so long to be filed or wasn't filed. It's just a bad situation and it just had to change,” said Coleman. “We just couldn’t continue the way we were going.”
Things got ugly for a little while. The homes of a city council member and a city employee were vandalized. Someone also hit a city employee’s car windshield with a bat.
"It was something you wouldn't think would happen in this small town. I'm disappointed. I really am,” said Coleman.
When visited at her Garland home, Bourne said she didn’t want to comment at this time, but thanked Garland residents for all the support they’ve given her.
Coleman plans on hiring a new police chief within the next couple of weeks.
"I have no personal grudge. I don't have a relative that wants to be the police chief. I've seen all sorts of ridiculous comments that are just ridiculous,” said Coleman.
Contributing: Steve Breinholt