The U.S. Department of Justice has honored former Ogden Police Chief Joe Ritchie for promoting racial harmony and equality during his years in office.
"In our mind, this was a model we seldom see in cities at this level," said Leo Cardenas, director of the Denver regional office of the department's Community Relations Service."Very few city officials are willing to take the risks Joe Ritchie did," he added.
Ritchie resigned as police chief April 12, the result of an ultimatum from City Manager Robert Hunter to either quit or be fired. Hunter refused to say why he asked Ritchie to resign, and Ritchie says he never was told.
The Community Relations Service handles complaints of civil rights violations. If a citizen feels some government agency has violated his rights, Cardenas' office investigates it.
After several meetings with Ritchie, Cardenas said, several programs were initiated by Ogden police, including a citizen neighborhood police advisory committee, a neighborhood watch program and others.