The best way to fight crime is with old-fashioned vigilance, says Doug Bodrero, soon to be sworn in as state commissioner of public safety.
The former Cache County sheriff had been working as deputy commissioner under John T. Nielson, who quit to join a private law firm."You can put a cop on every street corner, and you still won't stop drugs," Bodrero said. What's needed is some "attitudinal vigilantism," he said.
There are no laws that can change dangerous and illegal behaviors as quickly as a vigilant attitude, he said.
"We tolerate things in this society that other societies don't," he said. "We tolerate shoplifting, speeding and alcohol and a lot of things that are against the law. . . . Society needs to say we're not going to tolerate these things anymore."
Bodrero began his law enforcement career in 1969 as a Cache County sheriff's dispatcher. He was elected sheriff in 1978 and was re-elected in 1982. He resigned two years later when asked by Nielson to become deputy commissioner.
Last January he took part in the police efforts to end the Singer standoff in Marion, Summit County.
"That really took its toll," he said. "Everything we did during the standoff was criticized, and it still is. But we live in a public society, and the people have a right to know what's going on. But the public didn't know all the facts we knew, and they were basing their criticism on that."
There were some mistakes made during the standoff, he said, but there were also a lot of things that went right.
"I might not have liked everything we were doing, but it was better than the options - like an all-out showdown," he said.
Referring to the death of a corrections officer in the shootout that ended The siege, he said, "One of the tough things about this job is when you lose an officer. That is something you have to live with for the rest of your life."
Bodrero said his experience as a sheriff "has helped me tremendously in this job."
"When you are a sheriff you have much more to do than enforce the law. . . . You have to deal with the public, with city hall, and just about everything.