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Sunday June 16, 2024 Salt Lake City, UT


Media Alert


Press Release

Department of Public Safety Appoints New Public Affairs Director

Wednesday April 22, 2020

Joe Dougherty has earned and accepted a new position within the Utah Department of Public Safety as Public Affairs Director. Mr. Dougherty will take over the position from Lt. Nick Street, the Utah Highway Patrol Public Information Officer who has served as the interim Public Affairs Director after the previous Director, Marissa Cote, accepted a position in the private sector in February. 

Mr. Dougherty has served as the DPS’ Division of Emergency Management Public Information Officer since 2010. Before coming to DEM, he worked seven years as an award-winning journalist for the Standard-Examiner and Deseret News covering a variety of beats, including crime, courts, public safety, military, environment, and local, state and national politics. 

Since coming to DPS, Mr. Dougherty has been one of the chief organizers of the Great Utah ShakeOut, the statewide earthquake drill in Utah that has helped more than 8.2 million Utahns get ready for “The Big One” since 2012.

Mr. Dougherty provides regular training and conference presentations on crisis and risk communications, media relations and social media and has taught more than 1,000 first responders and emergency managers in the FEMA Basic PIO Course. He is a past president and current secretary of the Utah PIO Association. He won the Golden Spike writing award in 2013 and earned the Certified Emergency Manager designation from the International Association of Emergency Managers in 2019.

On social media, he has been the reassuring and consoling voice behind the @UtahEmergency twitter account following our state’s recent earthquakes.

Mr. Dougherty graduated from Utah State University in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast and print journalism.

We want to thank Mrs. Cote for her four years of service in advancing and further developing the public affairs mission of DPS. We wish her success in her new private sector career. 

All after hours and weekend DPS related calls, please contact the UHP on call PIO at 801-554-5659

Joe Dougherty, public affairs director for the department of public safety

Joe Dougherty, DPS Public Affairs Director

Cell: 801-664-1530, email:

Commissioner’s Office & Department inquiries, Division of Emergency Management, Highway Safety Office, Peace Officer Standards and Training, Bureau of Criminal Identification, Driver License Division, Communications, Forensic Services, Fire Marshal and DPS Aero Bureau.

Lt. Nick Street, Public Information Officer

Cell: 801-828-7473, email:

Utah Highway Patrol, State Bureau of Investigation, Statewide Information and Analysis Center and Operation Rio Grande



Hillary Koellner
Director of Public Affairs
Department of Public Safety


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