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RIVERTON — There's a new chief in town — and she's unlike any the Unified Police Department has ever seen.
In early July, Rosie Rivera was sworn in as chief of the Unified Police Department's Riverton precinct. She's the first female police chief in the history of the department, and that's dating back to when it was the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office.
While Rivera knows people are proud of her, she just wants to be treated like everyone else.
"I am excited that, in Utah, we can now say females can take leadership roles in policing," she said. "And it's so important, too, because the community seems to be really happy about it."
Rivera has plenty of experience in law enforcement, having served many years with the old Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office and the Taylorsville Police Department. But she didn't start out in law enforcement right away, like so many others.
Being a role model for others is important. I've had good role models in my career, so now I think it's time for me to return that favor to others.
–Chief Rosie Rivera, Unified Police Department-Riverton
"I was just raising children and working, but I always had in the back of my mind I wanted to be a police officer and sometime I was going to try it," Rivera said.
Now, she's the top officer in a city she's lived in for more than 20 years.
"You tend to care about where you live," she said. "You want to make sure the citizens are safe. You want to make sure enforcement is being done."
Rivera said she doesn't expect to change things much, though she plans to emphasize more crime prevention and community policing. To her, being a chief also means it's more than a job; it's a responsibility.
"Being a role model for others is important," Rivera said. "I've had good role models in my career, so now I think it's time for me to return that favor to others."