New deputies diversify Sheriff’s Office
The Summit County Sheriff’s Office recently hired three new employees and promoted within to bring staff levels back to pre-recession numbers, according to Sheriff Justin Martinez.
The Summit County Council approved a 3.06 percent increase to the Sheriff’s Office budget to for hiring of five full-time positions, including an administrative lieutenant and an additional inmate working crew deputy. The administrative lieutenant and inmate working crew positions were filled through promotions.
"Our staffing now is at the level that it was at in 2007," Martinez said. "We fell behind, but we have made big strides and are back to where we were."
Martinez said the additional personnel will provide some relief at the administrative level for himself and Chief Deputy Sheriff Frank Smith.
"Our command structure used to consist of a sheriff, undersheriff and three captains, but as we went into the recession we started losing positions," he said. "Administratively we went from having a ton and, not that I want to go top heavy, but we needed some help and so I asked for it.
"This will be a huge help for us," Martinez said.
With the new employees, the Sheriff’s Office will be operating with 99 staff members, with approximately 70-sworn law enforcement personnel. The three new employees will be joining the patrol division. However, it will not mean more deputies will be on patrol.
Gabrielle Provaas, of Midway, is originally from the Netherlands and speaks five languages. She served with the Dutch National Police for nearly 15 years and was on a NATO immigration detail before coming to the United States. Provaas joins the department after three years with the Utah Highway Patrol. Her first day was Monday.
Oakley resident and native Spanish speaker Jeff O’Driscoll will also be joining the patrol division. O’Driscoll is now one of six bilingual employees within the Sheriff’s Office. O’Driscoll graduated from the police academy in January.
The third new hire, Mike Graham, has been with the Utah Highway Patrol for nearly two years. He was assigned to an area in Duchesne County after graduating from the academy. He is originally from the Salt Lake Valley. His first day is scheduled on March 14.
With a significant Latino population in the county and visitors from all over the world, public entities like the Sheriff’s Office are taking steps to provide more services for non-English speaking residents and diversify their staff. In the 2010 census, 12.8 percent of Summit County residents reported that they speak a language other than English in the home.
Lt. Andrew Wright, a 10-year veteran promoted by Martinez from sergeant, said one of his new duties will include the hiring and training of new deputies. Wright said he plans to further "Justin’s big push" to make sure the office is diversified and representative of the population.
Seventeen of Summit County’s 70 sworn law enforcement officers are women. Five nationalities are represented on the staff, including Latinos, Brazilians, Vietnamese and Dutch.
"We have made huge strides the last two months in getting females, different ethnicities and locals that speak different languages," Wright said. "It is my goal to continue to further his (Martinez’s) goal of diversifying this office."
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The Summit County Council is poised to extend its order allowing school mask requirements at a meeting Monday. No school is close to the case-number threshold, according to state data.