Colonel Dennis J. Nordfelt
Colonel Bob Reid retired in August 1981. His successor was 14 year veteran Captain Dennis J. Nordfelt. Nordfelt was appointed Colonel on August 24, 1981, by Commissioner Larry E. Lunnen. He was reappointed in 1985 by Commissioner John T. Nielsen. During Colonel
Nordfelt’s administration, the Patrol received national recognition for innovative programs. The implementation of a new weapon greatly increasing morale on the Patrol. Colonel Nordfelt also faced many challenging events. Budget cuts and increasing costs prevented Colonel Nordfelt from accomplishing some of the goals he had envisioned for the Patrol.
The Utah Highway Patrol was selected as the best dressed police organization in the United States in 1982. Also in 1982, the Department of Public Safety created the Medal of Valor to recognize people who risk their life to save the life of another. That same year, DPS also implemented “career mobility,” allowing troopers to serve in all divisions of the Department.
In 1983, Utah and Arizona opened the nation’s first joint-state port of entry. This innovative and cost effective program has been duplicated throughout the nation. The following year, the Utah Highway Patrol was presented a special “United States Senate Award for Achievement,” for their efforts in the Utah/Arizona Port of Entry.
Colonel Nordfelt served in several positions with the Utah Peace Officers Association. He served as President from 1986 to 1987. Colonel Nordfelt accepted the position of Chief of Police of West Valley City effective July 1, 1987. He continues to serve in that capacity to this day. Colonel Nordfelt is an outstanding police executive and serves as a model of integrity for those in the law enforcement profession.