Provo announces veteran Fred Ross as new police chief
Since July, Provo City administration has been scouring the country for a replacement for Police Chief Rich Ferguson.
On Tuesday, Mayor Michelle Kaufusi announced they had found their new chief — a little closer to home — in Chief Fred Ross.
In an open display of pride at the new city hall and future police department, the mayor brought the police force and staff to their new home — a new building, new department location and new police chief in one day.
The building and new police digs will open in June 2022.
“Provo’s public safety, and the future of its police department, would be well served in the experienced hands of Chief Fred Ross, who is uniquely qualified to lead the department during this time of growth,” Kaufusi said
Ross started with the Salt Lake Police Department in 1995, ultimately serving as deputy chief until his retirement in 2015. He leaves his current position as chief of the Utah Transit Authority Police Department to accept the role of Provo City’s chief of police with the advice and consent of the Provo City Municipal Council during its Tuesday city council meeting.
“The Provo Police department is rich in tradition, employing the best men and women in the profession; this is what makes Provo Police a destination department,” Ross said. “I look forward to carrying on the traditions, building on the great existing programs and helping to develop all the officers into the finest in the nation while maintaining a safe and vibrant city. Working in a city with a very vibrant business community, a major university supporting academia and sports is a dream.”
“My goal is to keep the department moving forward with community policing efforts,” he added. “Now is the perfect time to get out into the community to build, rekindle and foster relationships with the community and all our stakeholders. I look forward to working close with businesses focusing on crime prevention to increase economic development. Provo will continue to be recognized as a destination police department, one in which we embrace and police the city with pride and compassion.”
Ross added he felt honored to serve as Provo City’s police chief. “I look forward to getting out into the neighborhoods and meeting everyone, sharing my philosophies and experience in community policing and ensuring we are meeting and exceeding the needs of the community,” he said. “The Provo Police Department is known for being deeply involved in the community, and I look forward to increasing our interaction with the citizens.”
In 2020, Provo City honored Ferguson as Utah’s Police Chief of the Year, in addition to earning public safety rankings including No. 1 Safest Big City in Utah and the No. 21 Safest City in the Nation. Ferguson’s retirement last July launched a nationwide search to replace interim Chief John Geyerman.
“We are thankful to Chief Geyerman for bringing his 35 years of experience to aid in this important transition,” Kaufusi said.
“Provo has earned its reputation as one of the safest and healthiest communities in the country by being committed to public safety values of community, partnership, accountability, professionalism and respect,” she added. “As the community face for public safety, a police chief sets the tone not only for the department, but also for the entire city. We wanted a proven leader who could build on our strong community-oriented policing foundation while also planning for Provo’s public safety future.”
Meet Fred Ross
Ross was born and raised in Granger (which later became West Valley City), graduating from Granger High School and attending the police academy in 1989. Shortly thereafter, he received his associate degree from Salt Lake Community College. He worked for the University of Utah PD while finishing up his bachelor’s degree in sociology.
Ross started with the Salt Lake City Police in 1995 and rose to the position of deputy chief until his retirement in 2015 to become the chief of the Utah Transit Authority Police Department.
“I have worked numerous assignments throughout my career from patrol, narcotics, gangs, motors, community policing, school resource officer, FBI task force, special victims’ detective, robbery detective, homicide detective, public order unit, PIO, fleet coordinator, executive officer to the chief of police, patrol sergeant, detective division commander, metro division deputy chief,” Ross noted. “I went back to school at the young age of 50 to obtain my master’s degree from Concordia University. I’ve been married to my wife Paula ‘Colonel’ Ross (U.S. Air Force) for 21 years and we are proud parents of three wonderful kids, Abby, 19, Jackson and Anna, 17.”
He added that one of the proudest moments in his career came in 1997 when he was recognized as the National Community Policing Officer of the Year for large police agencies and received the first Salt Lake City Police Department award as Humanitarian of the Year in 2015.
“I love to spend time with my family. When not at work, I enjoy reading, home projects, coaching and helping my kids with their athletic endeavors,” Ross said.
Residents interested in a virtual City Hall and Public Safety Headquarters tour may visit https://youtu.be/TvI0qwjKZ50.