Morale was low as word spread throughout Ogden's police department that Chief Joe Ritchie resigned Friday.
Detectives were huddled together in a back room along the corridor of the department, located on the first floor of the Municipal Building.Captain Marlin Balls said he thought Ritchie was a great chief and he would be sadly missed.
"I've never worked with a man who's appreciated more," Balls said. "I've worked for three chiefs and he's the best one I've worked for."
The four other detectives sitting in the room agreed. "None of us think he's done anything wrong," said Detective Chris Zimmerman. "He just supported his men and we don't agree with what the city did.
"I feel the city has lost a great man," said Detective Norman Soakai. "And not because Ritchie's my boss, but he's a close friend."
Detective David Lucas added, "I just wish this wasn't happening. I think he's going to be tough to replace."
Affection for the chief was also expressed by Detective Mike Ashment, who said, "I think Ritchie has all the characteristics of a great leader. He's well liked by his employees."
Ashment said that he thought the chief had been doing a wonderful job in trying to get the city to build a new police station. The detective pointed out that the current facilities weren't secure, that anybody, like reporters, can just walk in the door. "I hope this doesn't set us back 20 years," said Ashment.
Walking out of the detectives' office and down the hall, other police offices and employees had the same melancholy looks on their faces.
All the employees asked to give their opinions about the chief resigning met with quick responses.
"I think it's terrible," said Patrolman Brian Johnson. "I feel he's (Ritchie) an honest, sincere person who cares not only with the department, but with the public as well.
"It's kind of a shock," said Lt. Dave Reed. I feel terrible because we've been friends for 30 years. I feel bad that he's not going to be here any longer. He's been a good chief. He's done nothing wrong."
Pam Price, the chief's secretary, had tears in her eyes when she spoke about Ritchie. "I think it's really sad. He's a good man."
Price defined Ritchie as being intelligent, compassionate and a leader who stands behind his employees.
"He attends to business, he gets things done," Price added. "I love him and I'm going to miss him."
Warrants clerk Doris Hayner said she has known the chief for many years.
"He's always been my friend and I've learned to respect him," said Hayner. "But I don't think this is a personal vendetta. I think it happened out of circumstances."