Remarks By Commissioner Squires at the 2017 DPS Awards Banquet
Good evening, everyone. It’s exciting to look around and see this banquet hall at its full capacity- I can’t thank you enough for being here this evening. On behalf of Deputy Commissioner Nannette Rolfe, Colonel Michael Rapich and our senior administration- welcome to the 2017 DPS Awards Banquet. I look forward to this event each year. It’s my opportunity to shamelessly showoff the amazing work our public safety employees do each year and each day.
Thank you to Governor Gary Herbert, Mrs. Herbert and all the elected officials who are here with us tonight. Your presence this evening is another example of your continual support of our department and its nearly 1,600 employees.
I very much appreciate all of you who worked hard to organize this important evening—the DPS Awards Committee (led by Jed Crittenden)… KSL’s Beyond the Badge and the Zermatt Hotel.
We’re here today to honor and recognize the dedicated service by the men and women of the Utah Department of Public Safety. It has been a year of intensely hard work. But I’m equally sure that your hard work has been rewarding. The service that public safety employees provide is critical to our communities.
Much of the work our public safety employees do is done quietly and humbly. For example, our telecommunications team handled all emergency calls during the Brian Head fire early this summer. Our Troopers attend dozens of community events where they provide education to men, women and children about safe driving habits and overall safety.
Let’s not forget the silent work our department’s two victim advocates provide to victims who are at their most vulnerable time in their lives. Our advocates are recent additions to our DPS team and are already making a difference—from homicide scenes to airplane crashes- our advocates have been there this year.
In June Governor Herbert reappointed me to serve as your Commissioner of Public Safety. It has been the honor of my life to represent the great employees of DPS. Whether it is at federal/intelligence meetings in Washington D.C. or meetings with our fellow Utahns in Vernal— I have the privilege to promote our great Utah DPS team.
In January I had the opportunity to see our Utah Highway Patrol Troopers participate in the 2017 Presidential Inauguration. It was incredible to see our men and women in brown showcased in front of our country’s capitol. It was awesome to see people going out of their way to acknowledge them and say hello. It was a proud moment for the Beehive state.
When I think back on the last few months, another moment that stands out is the ribbon cutting of our new state crime lab. Our forensic scientists are now better equipped with the latest technology to help bring justice to victims. But it would have never become reality without the support of our great legislature. Their constant support of forensic science and the entire Department of Public Safety is appreciated at all levels. To our Senators and Representatives—thank you for your support, hard work and service. You are all true public servants.
You’ll notice the candles at the back of the room. Each candle is lit for each of Utah’s fallen officers—151 total—6 of those have been K9 officers. Unfortunately, we added two more to that count. This evening we honor the men we lost in the line of duty—Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Eric Ellsworth and West Valley City Officer Cody Brotherson. The work police officers do is vital and demanding. In May, the Ellsworth and Brotherson families joined us at the National Fallen Officers Memorial service in Washington D.C. There we honored Eric, Cody and all officer who lost their lives in the line of duty
To our brave men and women—you do your job not because you “have” to, but because you “want” to – it’s your calling. And thus you earn the trust, the admiration, the respect and the affection of your peers and civilians – mostly people you will never know, but for whom you are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice.
The Ellsworth and Brotherson families are here with us tonight. My heart is with you – always. You will never be forgotten. We share your heartbreak and loss. May you be comforted with love and peace.
Tonight you’ll learn more about our public safety family and leaders from our community who are going above and beyond their own call of duty. My sincere gratitude to all of YOU for what you do. I hope you enjoy this evening. Thank you for being here.
Now, I’d like to introduce DPS’ champion, Governor Gary Herbert.