A 24-year veteran Utah Highway Patrol trooper has been named the new Duchesne County sheriff. After deliberating in executive session for close to an hour Friday, county commissioners announced the selection of Marv Gustin, 48, of Duchesne, as the county's top law enforcement officer.
Gustin will assume his new duties as soon as he can leave his duties with the highway patrol, presumably in about two weeks. He replaces former Sheriff Rick Harrison who had his certification as a peace officer revoked for life following his conviction for falsifying records in connection with the purchase of three semiautomatic assault rifles for himself and a friend.Although he was born in Houston, Gustin grew up in Utah, graduating from Clearfield High School. He began his law enforcement career with the UHP in 1969 in Richfield. He has lived in Duchesne for the past 13 years. During his career, Gustin received many awards for his work as a trooper including the Distinguished Service Award and Lynn Pearson Award for 20 years or more of outstanding service to the department.
As sheriff, Gustin says he "plans to fight crime on all fronts" and depend on public support in those efforts.
"That's the way we maintain a good community. Without their help, there's no way we can function. I plan on getting a lot of public involvement. But I'm not going to apologize for enforcing the law."
He says he doesn't expect any difficulty uniting the Sheriff's Department which has been divided by split loyalties to former sheriffs Harrison and Clair Poulson.
"We have some real quality people in the department. I don't think the people of Duchesne County realize the caliber of these men," Gustin stated. "I don't foresee any problems. I think they're ready to get on with life. There's been some little problems, but those are behind them now."
A challenge he does face is working within sharp budget constraints imposed on the sheriff's office due to falling revenue to county coffers. The department is down by two deputies from budget cuts last year, and further funding cutbacks were enacted in the 1994 budget.
Gustin says he always enjoyed being a UHP trooper and having the responsibility of being "right out on the front line," but was ready for a new challenge. "Just being a trooper is an honor to me. There's the trust that goes with it. It's always been a source of strength to me."
He was one of nine men who applied for the position as sheriff. As an appointee to the job he will fill the remaining year left in Harrison's four-year term.