The Moab Police Department will bid goodbye to three of its officers, including Assistant Chief Mike Thurston, and another officer is shifting to “reserve officer” status. Thurston’s last day on the force will be April 22; the other officers, whose names have not been released, have already left the department.
Moab Police Chief Bret Edge said the resignations were prompted by a variety of reasons: one officer moved to another law enforcement agency to focus on felony drug interdiction. Another cited a need to spend more time with family; another will be relocating closer to family. An officer who has a business outside of law enforcement will reduce his hours to just two ten-hour shifts per month. Thurston has served as Assistant Police Chief since July of 2019.
The department has long suffered from understaffing, according to comments from Edge at public meetings over the last two years. Fortunately, he foresees the recent department vacancies being soon filled.
“We interviewed several exceptional candidates on Monday and have multiple conditional offers outstanding,” Edge reported. Most of the interviewees have already completed the basic training required for police officers to begin duty. Edge said one department member is currently completing that training, known as POST (Peace Officers Standards and Training.) Also, the department has been authorized to hire two additional officers, bringing the total number of patrol officers in the department to 17. This is still fewer officers than the department needs, but, Edge said, “is a step in the right direction.”
It’s unclear how soon new hires will be able to start. In the meantime, current officers may be serving 12-hour shifts rather than 10-hour shifts, and reserve officers may be called upon to fill any gaps. The Grand County Sheriff’s Office is also available to help with any law enforcement needs.
“We wish that the resignations hadn’t all come at once but we’re confident that we’re in a good position to move forward,” said Edge. “The staff we have remaining are among the best and most committed people with whom I’ve worked in any industry. They’re intelligent, community-focused, they care about one another and are truly exceptional in every regard. I’m humbled by their dedication to serving this great community.”