Former Police Chief Don Hutson bids emotional farewell to Holladay
Feb 04, 2019 11:24AM
● By Justin Adams
Chief Hutson and the Holladay city council. (Justin Adams/City Journals)
By Justin Adams | [email protected]
During its Jan. 17 meeting, the Holladay City Council devoted a portion of the evening to honoring Chief Don Hutson, who had overseen the Holladay precinct for the Unified Police Department before leaving to become the chief of Riverton’s newly formed police department. Judging by the amount of tears shed and hugs shared, Hutson’s impact will not soon be forgotten in Holladay.
The city council recognized Hutson’s three and a half years of service in the city’s precinct with a resolution, which was read by Councilwoman Sabrina Petersen.
“He has served in a manner that has given great dignity to the citizens of the city while maintaining high morale and satisfaction in the city of Holladay precinct,” read Petersen. “The officers serving in the city of Holladay have adopted his values and commitment to community, policing and cooperative public safety efforts.”
But Hutson’s impact wasn’t just limited to his interactions with his officers and the Holladay residents he came in contact with. Many Holladay employees and officials spoke about how Hutson was more than just a coworker — he was a friend.
“When I meet someone, and especially with law enforcement, I size them up a little bit and see how they treat people. And I’ve only seen the man treat people with amazing touch, at every level,” said Michael Jensen, the chief of Unified Fire Department’s Holladay station.
As positive and heartfelt as Hutson’s goodbye was, it was also bittersweet. Mayor Rob Dahle pointed out that evening happened to fall on the three-year anniversary of the murder of officer Doug Barney.
Hutson said that event, which happened just six months after he became the chief, was something he would never forget.
“It changes the direction of your life. It changes how you do things, not only in life but obviously as a law enforcement administrator,” he said.
One thing that stood out to Hutson at the time was how the Holladay community came together amid the tragedy. “Frankly I think it set the tone forever for the relationship between the city of Holladay and the police officers that serve them,” he said.
Another thing Hutson learned during his time in Holladay was the ins and outs of municipal government. “I truly believe that municipal governments can have the biggest impact on citizens in any given community. Everything I know about governance at the community level I learned during my time in Holladay,” said Hutson.
In fact, it’s his newfound passion for local government that led Hutson to apply for and ultimately get the job of leading the newfound police department in Riverton.
“To create that department in a way that really serves the citizens of Riverton I saw as an incredible opportunity as well as a challenge,” he said. “I’m at a stage in my career where I’m looking forward to the challenge of putting together a new department.”
After he finished addressing the city council, Hutson walked through the council chamber and gave every elected official and employee a hug goodbye, many of which included a tear or two.
Hutson said in parting that he just wants all the residents and employees of Holladay city to know he appreciates all they’ve helped him to learn and do over the last few years.