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Utah public safety commissioner stepping down

Keith D. Squires, commissioner of the Utah Department of Public Safety, speaks at a press conference hosted by the Utah Safe Schools Commission at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. Squires made a surprise retirement announcement o
Keith D. Squires, commissioner of the Utah Department of Public Safety, speaks at a press conference hosted by the Utah Safe Schools Commission at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. Squires made a surprise retirement announcement on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — After 31 years in law enforcement, the head of the Utah Department of Public Safety is stepping down.

Commissioner Keith Squires made the surprise retirement announcement on Thursday. At the same time, Gov. Gary Herbert announced the appointment of Maj. Jess Anderson as the next public safety commissioner.

“I am grateful to both of these men for their dedication to our state, and to the safety of its people,” Herbert said in a prepared statement. “Commissioner Squires has not only been a trusted and well-respected member of our Cabinet and leader in our law enforcement community, but he is also viewed as a national expert in public safety and is often called on for his expertise. We will miss his contributions in state government.

“I am sad to see this chapter end, but I look forward to working with Maj. Anderson, and I believe he will make wise decisions when it comes to our public safety,” the governor continued.

Squires had been commissioner since 2013. He has also been the director of emergency management, and the governor’s homeland security adviser. According to Herbert, "Squires is retiring to accept a position in the private sector."

His retirement is effective Aug. 31.

Anderson has been with the Utah Department of Public Safety for 18 years, working with the Utah Highway Patrol on the motors squad, DUI squad and Special Emergency Response Team. His most recent position was an assistant superintendent overseeing 475 troopers in Utah. He also served as the president of the National Governor’s Security Association from 2009-2016.

Anderson's appointment must still be confirmed by the Utah Senate.