After 33 years in law enforcement, 26 as police chief at the University of Utah, Wayne Shepherd has decided to call it quits.
"I've had a fantastic career, but now I want to get out and do a few things with my family; enjoy life a bit," Shepherd said in announcing his retirement Friday.Also, with the U. pegged to host major Winter Olympics facilities and events in 2002, Shepherd said it would be better to give a new chief as much time as possible to "get his feet on the ground."
U. President Arthur K. Smith called Shepherd "one of the very best public safety leaders in America's higher education system" and said his skills will be missed.
Shepherd, 58, will leave the job as soon as a replacement is chosen, probably sometime this summer. He leaves behind a 35-member police force that is responsibile for the safety of a campus population of 60,000 daily.
"It is very much like a pretty good-size city with all the problems of a city," Shepherd said. "I'm proud of the job our officers do. It's an excellent team."
Traditionally a "sanctuary" from big-city street crime, the campus has seen a steady increase in criminal activity over the past two decades, Shepherd said.
"The increase in gang activity concerns me. We're seeing graffiti for the first time, and a good number of car burglaries result from gangs and drug problems in the city," he said.
However, Shepherd says 70 percent of the criminal activity on campus is imported by off-campus visitors.
During his tenure as chief, Shepherd said he emphasized prevention and service. "We've tried very hard to build a partnership with the faculty, staff and students. We have a low crime rate because they are willing to work with us."
He says one advantage campus police have over their downtown counterparts is the help they get from cooperative witnesses.
Shepherd served as a police officer in Orem before joining the U. police department, where he rose through the ranks while completing his education.
He served three terms as president and is executive director of the Utah Chiefs of Police Association. He has also been general chairman of the U.S. Chiefs of Police Association and served on the executive board of the International Association of Police Chiefs.
And he has handed down the law enforcement tradition to three sons and a daughter who work in Utah police agencies.