Commission taps interim sheriff
By Rhett Wilkinson
In his 34th year of law enforcement, Gary Larsen has been named the interim sheriff of Sanpete County.
Sanpete County commissioners gave Larsen the position on Tuesday, Jan. 5.
“My time as interim sheriff will be brief; however, after being second in command the past 18 years, I look forward to the challenge,” Larsen said. “I take great pride in the fact that I live in Sanpete County. I am very appreciative that I can continue to serve and work with our citizenry in keeping Sanpete County a safe place to live and raise our families.”
Larsen will take on the challenge of retaining employees and keeping the department “fully staffed in a very competitive arena.”
“It seems we have been in constant rebuilding status for years,” Larsen said. “We hire new deputies [and] invest the time and money into training, only to lose them to higher paying agencies.”
Larsen commended county auditor Stacey Lyon and the commissioners for recognizing the issue and “taking the necessary steps to correct it.” The commissioners voted to increase officer pay.
Larsen is a lifelong resident of Fountain Green. He and his wife Teresa Larsen have a daughter Tosha (Kevin) Bailey and son Rhett (Melissa) Larsen, with three “fantastic” grandchildren in Kili and Dawson Bailey and Jandylin Larsen.
Former Fountain Green Mayor Dean Hansen hired Larsen in 1988 as city marshal. Two years later, Sheriff Wally Buchanan hired Larsen as a deputy sheriff for the Sanpete County Sheriff’s Office. He then served a patrol deputy and patrol sergeant before serving as the enforcement captain for the sheriff’s office for the past 18 years.
“It has been a great opportunity that carries a lot of responsibility,” Larsen said. “It has enabled me to be part of a leadership team and work closely with sheriffs and other administrators in making decisions regards the sheriff’s office and how we will proceed, and then acting upon it. I have always said you need to understand the history of the sheriff’s office in order to guide it in the future!”
Duties for Larsen as a captain have included supervising outside enforcement and various sergeants.
Larsen said law enforcement is a “very challenging but also very rewarding career.”
“I have had the opportunity to work with many outstanding people and forged lasting friendships that I cherish,” Larsen said.
What has Larsen liked most in his career?
“It’s got to be that I get to work with such dedicated public servants on a continual basis while serving and protecting the citizens of our great community,” he said. “I see them put themselves in harm’s way and face difficult situations on many occasions, always rising to meet the challenges.”
Larsen also appreciates the spouses and families of these men and women and the sacrifices they make.
“It is an honor for me to be associated with these great people,” Larsen said.
Larsen did not answer a question from the Sanpete Messenger as to whether he would run for sheriff.