The man who combined West Jordan's police and fire departments and cross-trained officers is turning in his badge after 71/2 years as West Jordan's public safety director.
Chief Kal O. Farr submitted his resignation Monday afternoon and announced he would be retiring from his career as a sworn law enforcement officer. Effective Jan. 1, West Jordan will be looking for a new chief when Farr starts a new job as vice president of International Protection of Assets Consultants, a company that provides law enforcement training nationwide, Farr said.One of the public safety department's four division commanders will likely be named acting chief until a permanent replacement can be found, Farr said.
West Jordan is one of only a few cities in Utah that has a combined police and fire department. Farr combined two separate departments when he took the job as the city's top cop in 1981.
"Whoever takes over my reins will realize the great benefit that consolidation has been to this city and what we've saved" taxpayers, he said.
West Jordan has some of the valley's finest officers, and they provide police and fire protection at the lowest cost per capita in the Salt Lake valley, he said.
"Another thing I feel very good about is we've professionalized our fire department," he said. All of the full-time firefighters and almost all of the police officers cross-trained as firefighters have completed advanced training. "That's quite an accomplishment for a department to have everybody at that level."
The low point of Farr's tenure in West Jordan was the Feb. 23, 1986 death of officer Tom Rees, who accidentally shot himself during a training exercise. "It was one of the most traumatic things I've had to deal with."
Farr said the department's image has also improved during the past several years. Farr was president of the Utah Chiefs of Police Association in 1986-87 and he also takes pride in having started the National Public Safety Directors Association six years ago. He just finished co-authoring a book on public safety that will be released early next year titled "Police and Fire Consolidation: Pros and Cons."