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Provo's new police chief wants more community-oriented law enforcement

A man in a suit speaking at a podium.
Ivana Martinez
New police chief Fred Ross said he will work with local businesses on crime prevention.

Provo City named Fred Ross the new police chief Tuesday morning. Ross will replace Interim Chief John Geyerman.

Ross, a Utah native, worked as a Salt Lake City police officer from 1995 until he retired in 2015. Prior to accepting the position, he’d been working as the chief of the Utah Transit Authority Police Department.

“It’s not something I take lightly,” he said Tuesday after being named the new leader of the Provo department. “I know the importance of the role of the police department [and] the police chief in a community. And it's life changing for me. But it's one that I embrace and I'm up for the challenge.”

Ross said he plans to approach policing from a community-oriented way.

COVID really kind of impacted how police across America interact with the community,” he said. “But now as we're trying to come out of it, I look forward to us rekindling and embracing new and existing relationships. And I want to be in those communities.”

He said he’ll work with businesses on crime prevention to increase the economic growth in the city.

Kelli Potter, a member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation of Provo, said they don’t see much changing under the new leadership but hopes to see less use of force from the department and less policing in poorer areas of the city.

She suggested they make policies that prioritize deescalation tactics.

The use of force and violence should always be a last resort when it comes to policing,” Potter said. “And I think they just too often go straight to a gun whenever somebody is physically threatening them or physically threatening somebody.”

The city council was scheduled to approve Ross’s appointment during its Tuesday night meeting.

Ivana is a general assignment reporter
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