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Preston welcomes new police chief

The city of Preston will be seeing a new face as its police department welcomes a new chief.

Current chief, Ken Geddes, announced his retirement in August. Geddes has worked in law enforcement for 24 years and has been Preston’s chief of police since 2013. Before becoming cheif, Geddes worked with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office for 20 years as a school resource officer.

Before that, Geddes was also a drug and alcohol counselor with “Road to Recovery.”

Mayor Mark Beckstead said he’s sorry to see Geddes go and that he’s been a great chief for the city.

“He’s been a tremendous asset for the city of Preston and been a great chief of police,” Beckstead said. “I think what makes a good chief is being a great officer to begin with and having the respect of the public and the department and Ken definitely has that.”

“We’ll truly miss him,” Beckstead added. “When he told me that he was thinking about retirement, I worked long and hard to try and keep him as long as we could.”

Beckstead said he would like to thank Geddes for all his hard work and committment to the community. While he’s sorry to see Geddes go, he’s excited to welcome Mike Peterson to the job.

Before accepting the chief job in Preston, Peterson worked as a lieutenant with the Cache County, Utah sheriff’s office.

Peterson has more than 20 years of experience in law enforcement. He started as a patrolman with the North Park, Utah police department. He later moved to the Cache County Sheriff’s Office where he worked in the jail and then as a patrolman. He’s worked as a school resource officer and a D.A.R.E. instructor, eventually being promoted through the years to sergeant and then to lieutenant. Now he brings that experience to Preston.

Peterson said as part of his duties as a sergeant and then as a lieutenant, he was in charge of supervising 50 or 60 other deputies. So he said he’s ready for a change. He’s looking forward to being able to work with a smaller department and get to know the officers, and the community, better.

“In a larger agency, you spend a lot of time in the office,” Peterson said. “I plan on spending a lot more time on the streets – being with the guys, being with the citizens, getting to know the business owners, really what makes Preston tick. I want to know so that I can adjust the police services to what the needs are in the community.”

“What I really like about Mike is he started with a smaller department like Preston and then he’s moved on to the Cache County Sheriff’s Office where he’s a current supervisor of 50 plus officers,” Beckstead said. “And so there’s that balance of being able to bring the things that need to be brought from a larger department into our department, but also understanding the limitations of a smaller department.”

Peterson said he doesn’t necessarily feel there’s a lot of changes he needs to make when he takes over. But he said there is one area he hopes his experience can help improve on.

“I’ve been really engaged in the technology side of law enforcement,” Peterson said. “I’ve been a part of going through some technology changes bringing on some new technology through either camera systems or record management systems. When I look at what I may start off with as I come up here, I think it’s bringing some of that experience with technology and bringing some of that up to speed a little bit.”

Peterson said he has known Geddes for years and has worked with him closely for about the last month learning how things work. He said he has some big shoes to fill but he’s excited to get started.

“I’ve met the guys that work here already – you know fantastic officers with a lot of great things going on and some great potential, I think,” Peterson said. “So I’m ready.”

“Definitely excited for Mike,” Beckstead said. “I’ve known Mike for a lot of years and he will be great for the city of Preston, as Ken has been.”

Peterson will be sworn in and officially take over as chief Monday morning.

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