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Richard T. Bretzing, special agent in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles office, has been named managing director of the security department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The appointment of Bretzing, a native Salt Laker who is a former bishop and now first counselor in the Newbury Park (California) Stake presidency, will become effective after his retirement from federal service July 1, said Don LeFevre, a church spokesman.Bretzing, 49, will succeed Ronald Francis, acting managing director of church security since the death last year of Martell Bird.

Bretzing's 27-year career with the FBI began in 1960 in Phoenix. Since that time he has served on both coasts of the United States, including offices in San Francisco, Detroit, New York City, Washington and Los Angeles.

His FBI service included the 1984 arrest of FBI agent Richard W. Miller, on charges of spying for the Soviet Union. Miller was convicted in 1986. More recently Bretzing supervised the investigation of the aftermath of last year's crash of a Pacific Southwest Airlines jetliner. The plane crashed after a disgruntled former employee of the airline's parent company went on a shooting spree aboard the plane, causing it to crash over San Luis Obispo County, Calif.

"I have been exposed to a wide variety of FBI operations during the past 27 years and hope that I will be able to draw on that as I begin my new duties about July 5," Bretzing said in a Deseret News telephone interview Thursday.

"The church is becoming more visible and influential as it expands worldwide. There will be increasing concern for security-related issues. I hope to be able to address those issues. . . ," Bretzing said.

Bretzing attended Liberty Elementary School in Salt Lake City. At age 10 his family moved to Phoenix, where he graduated from high school. He was reared in Phoenix and was graduated from Arizona State University in 1964.

Bretzing and his wife, the former Sharon Diane Johnson, are parents of seven children and have two grandchildren. One of his daughters, Jacqueline Balmforth, is employed in the FBI office in Salt Lake City.