Immediately upon arrival to the valley, the Utah pioneers requested recognition of the United States of America as the Territory of Deseret. In March of 1849, Brigham Young changed his mind and quickly drafted a constitution patterned after the Iowa Constitution, which pioneers were familiar with, proposing the creation of the State of Deseret. The political climate at the time detoured recognition, but as part of the Compromise of 1850, the Territory of Utah was created with Brigham Young serving as the first territorial governor. Counties are referred to in territories as county-equivalents. In October of that year, Davis County and its borders were first defined, taking its name from Captain Daniel C. Davis who served the Country during the American Mexican War as a leader in the Mormon Battalion. In March of 1853, Lot Smith, who had also served at age 16 in the Battalion, was appointed the first sheriff of Davis County. Thirty-one residents of Davis County have served as sheriff. Notable to Syracuse history are two residents: Sheriffs Joseph Holbrook [1930-1946] and Kenneth Hammon [1962-1970].
Before 1950, the community was served by the Sheriff’s department. Since 1950, the Syracuse Police Department has provided law enforcement in our community. There was a time when the chief executive officer was referred to as the town marshal. Those serving as marshal were Elvin Hansen [1950-1962] and Delmar Stoker [1962-1971]. Henry Martin was hired in 1971 as the city’s first chief of police. Our current chief is Chief Garret Atkin. The department employs 28 men and women.
There is unrest in our country today. During my youth, officers of the law were respected. That is not true in some parts of our country today. Autonomous zones have been established in Seattle, Minneapolis, Austin, and Portland by anarchists. Jayne and I spent some time in Portland recently, visiting her brother. His family has not returned to downtown Portland in over a year. In some parts of our great country, there is no respect for the rule of law and those that enforce it.
Wishing to take the pulse of the community concerning our police department, the Syracuse City Council recently commissioned a survey1 . Just under 70% report no interaction with a police officer during the past year. The remaining 28.5% who did interact with an officer felt the officer’s conduct was professional regardless of the outcome of the encounter. When asked where residents feel unsafe, nearly 70% felt safe anywhere in the community. The results of the survey show Syracuse residents feel safe.
Syracuse City was recently recognized as the 2nd Safest City in the State of Utah by Safewise, a national safety awareness organization. It is nice that others notice what we as a community do in joining arms with our local police department. It’s no wonder why we love this community and call it home. Thank you, SYPD!
Mayor Mike Gailey
1 The margin of error was +/-4%