The Chief’s Trophy
In 1935, the President of the Utah Peace Officers Association, Salt Lake City Police Chief William L. Payne, established the Chief’s Trophy. This large, engraved cup was created as a traveling trophy to be awarded to the first place pistol team at the annual UPOA summer convention. The trophy had to be won three times consecutively for permanent possession. In 1935 the Chief’s Trophy was won by the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Department. The following two years the trophy was won by the Salt Lake City Police Department. In 1938, the Provo Police Department pulled off a stunning upset and snatched the award from the SLC PD. In 1940, the Utah Highway Patrol won the award for the first time. The UHP would win the award again in 1941 and 1942; thereby gaining permanent possession of the Chief’s Trophy.
The 1942 UHP winning team included Staff Sergeant Rulon Bennion, Sergeant L. A. Christensen, Sergeant O. P. “Bob” Howard, Sergeant Elmer Loveless, Sergeant Rink Smuthwaite, Patrolman Ray Clawson, Patrolman Vern N. Davis, Patrolman James C. Hunter, Patrolman Dean Schaerrer, and Patrolman John Visser. The Chief’s Trophy was given to Bob Howard, the last living member of the winning team, during the 1970s. He died in December 1994. His wife, D’Rilla Howard, loaned the Chief’s Trophy to the Utah Peace Officers Association to be displayed at the Utah State Capitol in the Law Enforcement Museum created in 1995 by the UPOA.
The tradition of the Chief’s Trophy continues today. In 1993, Sergeant Les Langford of the Utah Highway Patrol was writing a history of the UHP. Sergeant Langford also served as President of the Utah Peace Officers Association from 1993-1994. He created a traveling trophy to be awarded to the winning combat pistol team at the annual summer convention of the UPOA. Designated as the President’s Trophy, the large gold cup is patterned after the silver cup of the Chief’s Trophy. The first team to win the President’s Trophy in 1994 was the Utah Highway Patrol pistol team.