Leaning back in the chair in his new office, with stacks of papers on his desk and packing boxes on the floor, Davis County Sheriff Glen Clary sums up his first three months in office: "Busy."
Upon taking office in January, Clary first had to wrestle with a funding cut of more than half a million dollars imposed on his operations division by budget-conscious county commissioners.On top of that, his staff was busy packing up the department - lock, stock and barrel - for the mid-March move into the county's new $20 million justice complex in west Farmington.
The department's patrol, detective, civil and administrative divisions are settling into the new complex now.
The dispatchers are still headquartered in the old complex in downtown Farmington, and the pod-shaped wings that house the county's new 400-bed jail aren't due to open until mid-June, leaving that portion of his command also still in the old building.
It's been a busy and sometimes rough three months, said Clary, elected to the sheriff's job in November. He counts 33 years in law enforcement, with his roots in Utah but the bulk of his time with the Orange County, Calif., Sheriff's Department.
He served as Riverdale police chief for seven years, making an unsuccessful run for the sheriff's job in 1986 and defeating incumbent Harry Jones in the GOP primary in October of last year. No Democratic candidate surfaced, so the November election was a shoo-in.
Sifting through the latest budget figures on his desk, Clary concedes that "we're really hurting for people in a couple of areas right now."
To make up the half-million-dollar cut, one of the first jobs the new sheriff was faced with was laying off dispatchers and deputies.
It was a rocky start, Clary said, and morale in the department has come back slowly.
Three staff members left before he took office, in the normal course of attrition. Two full-time and 10 part-time employees were laid off, although six part-time dispatchers were brought back.
"It's cheaper overall to pay them on a part-time basis than pay the full-time dispatchers overtime to make up the difference.,"
Four staff members were transferred to the corrections division, which received a funding boost of $1.1 million to hire 44 additional corrections officers to operate the new jail.
The increase in jail division funding has come at the expense of the department's other operations, according to Clary.
"Our equipment purchase requests disappeared. We asked for 11 new vehicles, new camera equipment for the crime lab, a new microfilm printer and cellular phones. We got one new copier.
The department still puts paramedics on the road but has all but ceased its patrol function, Clary said.
"We had to pull some cars off the road, all with well over 100,000 miles on them. They weren't worth the high maintenance costs to keep them running any more," he said.
Sergeants who used to drive department cars to and from work now leave them parked at the sheriff's department when they go home.
"That hurt our morale, because they considered those cars a benefit. It also hurts our patrol and response capability," Clary said.
"It used to be that if they saw a traffic violation on the way home from work, they could write out a citation. Now they can't. If they're called out in the middle of the night, first they have to come here to pick up a car and then go to the scene.
"Having those cars out there, even parked in the neighborhoods, was a deterrence to crime."
Clary has reorganized his administrative staff, reducing from two chief deputies to one and from five captains to four. That was partly accomplished when former chief deputy K.D. Simpson left for a job with the state department of public safety.
Simpson was campaign manager for Clary's rival, former sheriff Jones, and the two clashed occasionally after Clary took office.
"K.D. did good work for me here, helped me out on the budget process. But there were problems," Clary acknowledges. "When he told me he was applying for that job with the state, I wished him well."
One demotion put Lt. Curt Johnson from an administrative position back into patrolling as a paramedic, reduced in rank to sergeant. Johnson is the son of former sheriff Brant Johnson, whom Clary opposed unsuccessfully four years ago.
The demotion was not politically motivated, Clary said. In Johnson's case, "we were short two paramedics, one who was called up into the active military and one who was on medical disability leave."
"I put Curt back into patrol to fill one of those slots, but I couldn't put him out working on patrol as a lieutenant, so he went out as a sergeant. The lieutenant's job was abolished, that slot was closed.
"He only took about a $300 a year pay cut, so it wasn't that bad," Clary said. "There was nothing political about it."
Clary said the recent move into the new headquarters has improved morale in the department. Easing the effect of the budget cuts will help morale further, he believes.
"I would like to say morale is high now. I think morale is as high as it can be right now," he said.
"Overall, I'm pleased with the job. It's a shock in some ways. I went from running a department with 17 people to running one with around 180.
"I know that not everyone here is happy, that's to be expected. But some of the employees I didn't think would support me as sheriff after the election are supporting me - and that helps.
"I'm extremely happy here. We have a very fine department and a fine new facility. I'm anxious to open the new jail.
"I just hope that next year we get some relief in the budget."