OGDEN — Two Utah cities will start the new year with new leadership in their police departments.
Both Ogden and Taylorsville introduced new police chiefs on Tuesday.
In Ogden, city officials chose a native son in Eric Young to replace retiring Chief Randy Watt.
"I am honored and humbled to be selected by Mayor Mike Caldwell to serve as the next police chief for the city," Young said at a press conference Tuesday. "I spent my entire life interwoven in the fabric of Ogden.
"As a young child, entertainment was a movie at the Egyptian or Orpheum theaters, or a ride on a small train at Lorin Farr Park. I watched baseball games at Affleck Park and played on train engines at Affleck Park. On weekends, I walked from my grandmother's house on the 2400 block of Tyler to a small grocery store a couple of blocks away for penny candy. That store has long been demolished, but my love for Ogden has not."
Young replaces Watt, who has guided the city's police department for the last four years. Watt and Caldwell joked during the press conference that he'd intended to work as chief for just three years but ended up staying to guide the city through an unprecedented pandemic.
Watt thanked his wife and city officials for their support, and he praised his successor, who worked for him as a deputy chief.
"The mayor has selected an excellent chief of police to provide continuity to the successful efforts of both the Ogden Police Department and the city," Watt said. "Chief Young has significant policing experience, having risen through the ranks of the department, and has the requisite level of academic education to be a successful leader of a major Utah police department. As deputy chief of police, Young played a key role in the development of the strategy, vision and empowerment processes, which have led to (the department's) great success in accomplishing its goals and objectives."
He said Young's leadership will only energize the department and help it create even more synergy with citizens.
"Chief Young brings a level of energy and enthusiasm to his new assignment that will result in revitalized organizational efforts," Watt said, "and will take this exemplary police department to another level of success for obviously its citizens, residents, businesses and visitors."
Taylorsville officials introduced Unified police executive officer Brady Cottam as the chief of the city's newly formed police department.
"It means the world to me that Taylorsville City leaders have entrusted me with this opportunity to lead our new police department," Cottam said in a prepared statement. "I am looking forward to continuing to put my experience and passion for law enforcement to work. I love what I do. I learn something new every day, and get to interact with the most dedicated, selfless professionals."
City officials voted to end their contract for police services last summer. Cottam will be responsible for hiring for the new department, which will begin operations July 1, 2021. Since that decision was made, a project management team made up of city staff and administrators has been working on how to structure the new police department. Cottam is a member of that team, and has been involved in the discussions since they began.
"We are impressed by Chief Cottam's forward-thinking vision and focus, and he has our full confidence," Mayor Kristie Overson said in a prepared statement. "He has done an outstanding job as an executive director for the Unified Police Department's Taylorsville precinct, and we are grateful we will be able to continue to rely on his leadership."
Cottam is a 24-year veteran of the Unified Police Department with experience as a field training officer, SWAT team leader, investigation supervisor and a range director. He's worked in Kearns, Magna, Millcreek and Cottonwood Heights, as well as in Taylorsville, where he was a lieutenant.
Cottam developed unique training and tactics for the SWAT team, revamped the Taylorsville precinct's field training programs, and successfully reorganized the Kearns-Magna Precinct in 2015.
"We must remember what we are trusted and sworn to do, which is to serve our communities," Cottam said. "I lead by example and will continue to do so. Everyone deserves to feel safe and to trust those who are put in charge of protecting their neighborhoods."
City leaders initially appointed Taylorsville Precinct Chief Tracy Wyant in October to lead the new department, but Wyant later declined the position after contracting COVID-19.
"During his time of recovery and upon further reflection, he decided to retire from UPD and not accept the job after all," said Kim Horiuchi, communications director for the city.
The Taylorsville City Council will vote on Cottam's appointment at its first meeting of the new year on Jan. 6, 2021.
"Chief Cottam has both an impeccable work ethic and moral compass," Overson said. "He understands the value of fostering relationships throughout the law enforcement community, and is a natural and effective leader who cares about the people he serves."