FAIRVIEW, Utah (ABC4 News) – A veteran law enforcement officer has found a home in this tiny Sanpete County town.
It’s fair to say that Steve Gray IS the Fairview City Police Department since he serves as the Chief and only full-time employee.
This community of 1,477 residents is definitely a “Gray area” because Chief Gray is the face of law enforcement here, running a department staffed by four part-time officers and himself.
“I have my Chief’s responsibilities and then I also go out and patrol just like any other officer does in the city,” Chief Gray told Behind The Badge. “So for me it’s a double-whammy and I kind of have to do everything here.”
The former auto mechanic and business owner became an officer 17 years ago, working for the South Jordan, Pleasant Grove, and Lindon Police Departments.
While in Lindon he worked a high-profile murder case where a man named Fred Lee shot and killed his ex-wife’s new husband in 2014.
“That was the first homicide I had ever worked,” Chief Gray said. “So for me that was probably one of the biggest cases I had taken at the time.”
Lee was eventually convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
The following year then-Detective Gray earned a Life Saving Award for pulling a person out of a burning building. He went on to become the Police Chief in Moroni before moving to Fairview six months ago, learning even in a place like here, law enforcement work can turn potentially deadly at a moment’s notice.
“I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been shot at and I came here to Fairview and went to assist some officers up in the Milburn area and while we were doing that the suspects actually shot at us,” Chief Gray said. “So that was kind of my close call, I guess.”
No officers were injured that day and the suspects were captured, returning the Fairview area to its usual calm.
“One of the biggest things that intrigued me about this position was that it was a small-town community. It was something I could root my family into,” the Chief said. “Obviously with a lot less population, I get to know people more. I know our citizens and unfortunately who we have to keep an eye on and also the good things that happen in the community so I feel like I’m more at home in a place like this…To be honest with you I’ve never seen a response in any of those other agencies I’ve worked for than in have in this small town so they definitely support us and we love ’em for that.”
Chief Gray tells ABC4 he plans to stay with the Fairview PD for the remainder of his career or as he says until they “force me out the door.”
And don’t bother to make any Barney Fife jokes…the Chief has heard them all before.