Sheriff finalist for prison head
The three-term Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds is one of three finalists for the position of state Department of Corrections executive director.
Edmunds confirmed a Friday interview with Gov. Gary Herbert, but said he could not elaborate on details on applying for the position.
Herbert’s staffers conducted a nationwide search to fill the position. A committee then reviewed the applications, rated them, and sent the top three candidates to Herbert to be interviewed.
"He is looking at their professional background, as well as their ability to move corrections in a direction that fits the future of criminal justice in the state of Utah," said Ally Isom, government affairs director for Herbert. "We’re in the process of doing a review of the entire criminal justice system and how the different disciplines interface, and determine if there is a better way to deliver services."
Isom said Herbert staffers are not only scrutinizing the corrections system, but also probation and parole, and how corrections interfaces with the courts, social services, families and volunteers.
"We’re looking at the entire environment and asking ourselves some of those meaningful questions about how we deliver services," she said. "And this is on the backdrop of the current proposal to move the prison. The relocation and redesign of the prison as a facility will involve some very significant programmatic decisions."
The prison facility, she said, is more than bricks and mortar; it is a system designed to facilitate programmatic solutions.
"With that in mind, we want the right candidate for this task. They are definitely going to need to be a change agent," she said.
Once Herbert makes his choice, he will forward the name to the Utah Senate for confirmation
Edmunds has served in law enforcement for 19 years, the previous 10 of which were with Summit County. Before his election to sheriff in 2002, he served first in the St. George Police Department, then the Park City Police Department.
"And I was a state trooper prior to that, and I spent two years assigned to a Secret Service field office," he said. "So I’ve worked federal, state, county and municipal law enforcement."
The other two candidates vying for the position are Mike Haddon, the current acting director of Department of Corrections, and Rollin Cook, who is retired after serving more than two decades with the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
The Utah Department of Corrections manages convicted felons in Utah.
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