PROVO — The law enforcement community is mourning the loss of one of its longest serving sheriffs this week.
Former Utah County Sheriff David R. Bateman, who served the citizens of Utah County from 1973 until his retirement in 2003, passed away Wednesday at the age of 80, according to Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon.
"Sheriff Bateman was a self-effacing man who preferred that others get attention and credit for improvements brought about during his administration," Cannon said in a prepared statement. "During his time, he was sheriff longer than he was not. His ideas and accomplishments as the sheriff of Utah County had, and will continue to have, a lasting impact on the deputies and employees with whom he served.
"Sheriff Mike Smith and the entire Utah County Sheriff's Office wish to express heartfelt condolences to his family for the loss of this good and kind man."
Bateman served in a variety of posts, taking over as sheriff when former Sherif Mack Holley retired in 1985. Bateman's 18 years at the helm of the Sheriff's Department are the longest in Utah County history.
During his tenure, he oversaw the construction of the Security Center in Spanish Fork. The jail population grew from 30 inmates to more than 600 at the time of his retirement. Not only did the jail population grow, but the department expanded and evolved in many ways.
Bateman was an active member of state and national policing groups like the Utah Sheriff's Association, National Sheriff's Association, the American Jail Association, and the National Corrections Association, and he served in several leadership positions.
In 1996, the Utah Sheriff's Association recognized Bateman as Sheriff of the Year, honoring him for a long list of accomplishments. He is also a graduate of Weber State University and the FBI's National Academy.
"Sheriff Bateman knew the importance of community and volunteer involvement," Cannon said, noting his leadership was responsible for a number of programs that connected the communities with deputies.
"It was during his administration that the Sheriff's Communication Auxiliary Team (SCAT) was established. He also revitalized other volunteer organizations like search and rescue, Jeep Patrol (now Volunteers in Police Service), Sheriff's Mounted Posse, Timpanogos Emergency Response Team, and youth Explorer posts through Boy Scouts of America. Sheriff Bateman also oversaw the creation of the Crime Prevention merit badge through BSA."