Deputy Chief Greg Severson promoted to Sandy police chief
Feb 24, 2020 02:47PM
By Justin Adams
The crowd applauds Chief Greg Severson following the city council’s unanimous approval of his appointment as the next chief of the Sandy City Police Department. (Justin Adams/City Journals)
By Justin Adams | [email protected]
Deputy Chief Greg Severson was nominated by the mayor and unanimously confirmed by the city council as the next chief of the Sandy City Police Department.
Severson, a 24-year veteran of the department, will replace Chief Bill O’Neal, who passed away earlier this year. The opportunity to continue his former boss’ vision is a big motivation for Severson.
“I had a hand in planning the vision with Bill O’Neal, and I want to see it through. I want to finish his vision and move on from there,” he told the city council.
That vision includes making the city’s police department an attractive one for an increasingly smaller pool of police officer recruits.
Part of the strategy for accomplishing that is creating a family-like culture within the department.
“We should treat our officers the way we want our citizens treated. Building that culture goes a long way towards bringing in recruits,” said Severson.
For example, Severson said the department has started using grant money to pay for officers to go to therapy, a practice that he said has “paid off in spades.”
By many accounts, the department has already come a long way in establishing such a culture.
Severson recounted how a former member of the department had recently returned after a stint with another department, with their main motivation being Sandy’s culture.
Multiple city council members also said they had done some “sleuthing” in preparation for their interview with Severson, and concluded that he was the right person for the job.
“In 21 years as an executive recruiter, I do not know if I have ever heard more positive glowing things about a person,” said Councilwoman Cyndi Sharkey.
Councilwoman Alison Stroud commented on the way Severson led the department through the tragic passing of Chief O’Neal.
“I could tell right away with the dignity you had and the compassion with which you interacted with your officers at a time that was very difficult for the department,” she said.
Those same officers’ support for Severson is a big reason Mayor Kurt Bradburn chose to nominate him out of a field of candidates.
“[Severson] has gone above and beyond in earning the respect and trust of his fellow officers; that’s kind of what is motivating us to nominate him,” said Bradburn.
Dozens of officers attended the special city council meeting to show support for Severson, which didn’t go unnoticed by the new chief of the Sandy Police Department.
“The outpouring of support has been tremendous and I don’t want to let them down. They told me they want me to lead this department and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m not going to let them down.”