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PROVO — Provo Police Chief John King has announced his resignation and retirement effective Thursday.
King, a veteran law enforcement officer with more than 30 years of experience, came to Utah from Maryland in 2013.
His family, however, remained in Maryland. And with his mother being ill, both the department and Provo Mayor John Curtis said it was time for him to return to Maryland to be with them.
"He's been separated from them for 3 ½ years," said Provo Police Sgt. Brian Taylor.
King was previously the director of a police academy in Hagerstown, Maryland, and before that served as police chief in Gaithersburg, Maryland. He resigned in 2010 to enter the private sector.
Even though his tenure in Provo wasn't very long, Taylor said he has made a lasting impact.
"We're out a good chief," he said. "Personally, I'm going to miss his energy. He has brought great attention to community policing and relationship building in Provo. He started a lot of great conversations with members of the community who feel underserved by the police. And we've gotten to be better community policing professionals because of his leadership."
Curtis concurred that King's outreach to minorities in the community, and the trust and respect he established with them, was one of his strongest traits.
"He was, in my opinion, ahead of the curve," he said.
Even in the citizen's committee he put together, Curtis said King made it a point to make some of his strongest critics committee members to help him better serve everyone in Provo.
King replaced Rick Gregory, who announced his resignation in 2013 after just two years of being chief, citing family commitments.
"We've been blessed with our last two chiefs who have come from out of state and brought a tremendous amount of expertise and experience that has really helped our department. And when John King came, like his predecessor, he brought a really different view and outlook on things that has pushed and challenged us in really positive ways," Curtis said.
The mayor said he will be conducting one-on-one interviews with the department's four captains over the next couple of days and expects to name one of them as interim chief by Monday.
As for picking a new chief, Curtis said the previous selection has purposely been slow in order to make the best choice.
"I don't feel like I have that same luxury of time in this situation," he said. "I feel it's important to get a new leader in place quickly."
Curtis said he would like a new chief to be selected within three months. He said based on the success of the past two chiefs, he will again look at out-of-state candidates. But the mayor also admitted that he would like to pick a chief that will stay in Provo for a while.
"Everybody will be looked at. But I'll be looking at not only a strong skill set but some longevity as well," he said.