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Behind The Badge: From rookie to deputy to chief, Del Craig returns to his Magna roots

Behind the Badge

MAGNA, Utah (ABC4) – 35 years ago, Del Craig walked the streets of Magna as a student at Cyprus High School. These days, he’s back on those same streets, now as the chief of the Unified Police Department’s Magna Precinct.

“I’m Del Craig,” he introduced himself to a woman during a recent stroll down Magna’s Main Street.

“For me, it’s like coming home. I spent so much time here as a youth,” Craig tells Behind The Badge. “In my younger days, I trained as a new deputy sheriff out here. I just feel like I’m drawn back home.”

Craig didn’t plan on this career. As a high schooler, he figured he’d make a living at the local copper mine.

“I was going to get married, have a family, work at Kennecott, and spend the rest of my life here,” Craig says. “The unfortunate circumstance is that Kennecott went through some revamping at about the time I graduated from high school, so I chose a different career.”

He joined the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Department in 1989 and worked his way up through the ranks; corrections, patrol, juvenile division, and gang unit before he was named the chief of the Taylorsville Police Department in 2006. Along the way, he’s earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees and graduated from the FBI National Academy. He’s also had his share of close calls along the way.

“There’s been times when I’ve struggled, you know, physical altercations where you’ve wrestled with a person and the thought crosses your mind ‘Are you going to make it out of this?’,” he says. “I’ve confronted armed assailants or somebody with a gun and fortunately it’s worked out. They didn’t shoot me and I’m fortunate. I’ve never had to use deadly force.” 

Now, keeping the men and women of his precinct safe is always on his mind.

“It’s probably the last thing you think about when you go to sleep and the first thing you think about in your waking hours,” the chief said. “You worry what they’re going to run into. Are they going to be safe?”

Magna’s growth means more residents and a lot more challenges for police these days, but it still has the feel of a small town where the chief stops to chat.

“It’s good to talk to you Bernice,” he tells the woman. “Thank you.”

Chief Craig says when he’s not on duty, he enjoys spending time with his five grandkids plus working on cars, playing racquetball, and hiking. He says he tries to stay away from golf because it makes him swear too much.

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