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Spanish Fork police chief retires after 37 years

By Genelle Pugmire - | Jan 14, 2022

Courtesy Spanish Fork city

Spanish Fork Police Chief Steve Adams retired Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, after 37 years in policing.

After 37 years as a police officer, Spanish Fork police Chief Steven G. Adams’ final sign-off was at 10 a.m. Friday. A retirement celebration was held at the time of his sign-off.

Adams is no stranger to the residents in south Utah County. He started his career in law enforcement in 1985 with Mapleton city. He was hired on to the Spanish Fork PD in 1988.

During his career with Spanish Fork, Adams was quickly promoted to Investigative Sergeant in 1991. He was promoted again in 2004 to Lieutenant and named Chief and Public Safety Director in 2012, according to Nick Porter, public information officer.

“There are some tough things in public safety, and I’m grateful for the steady hand of leadership that we all enjoyed under Chief Adams,” said Mayor Mike Mendenhall. “We are going to miss him. Spanish Fork is such a better place because of his service and we’ll be indebted to him forever for his many years of service.”

During his tenure as director of public safety, Spanish Fork grew from 28 to 42 full-time police officers and transitioned to 24-hour staffing for EMS out of the newly constructed Station 62.

As Chief of Police, Adams implemented the K9 unit, honor guard and safe school walks. He also hired a full-time Victim Advocate, provided Narcan — a nasal spray to rapidly reverse opioid overdose — for each officer to carry, started the Public Safety Night Out and placed police radios to every school in Spanish Fork.

Adams acknowledges that the success of these programs came from many hands and minds working together, according to Porter.

During his send-off celebration, a number of his long-time associates added their thoughts about Adams leadership and service.

“As I’ve worked with you I have witnessed you have to make many difficult decisions. And you have always made the right decision. It might not have been the easiest or most popular but it was always the right decision. That is just one of the many fine qualities that you possess that I admire,” said Investigative Lieutenant Matthew R. Johnson.

“You certainly have been an example to all. I have never met someone that is respected by so many as Steven G. Adams,” Johnson added. “Steve, it is with heavy hearts that we bid farewell to you. We are going to miss you as you move to the next chapter in your life. So say goodbye to the sleepless nights and hello to vacations, more time with your family and grandkids, more trips to Lake Powell and hopefully a stress free retirement. You have definitely earned it. Once again, thank you for a job well done.”

“On behalf of the men and women from the public safety department I want to express our appreciation to you. You have been an outstanding leader, mentor and friend to all. The countless hours and efforts that have been put forth to improve the public safety department and the city of Spanish Fork have not gone unnoticed. You have a genuine concern for the wellbeing of your fellow man, whether it’s those you often associate with or those you have just met,” Johnson added in his tribute.

Another one of Adams’ associates, Administrative Lieutenant Brandon Anderson said, “I have had the great opportunity of working with Chief Steven Adams for the last 25 years. He has served with honor and integrity and genuinely cares about the citizens of the Spanish Fork community. He has been a great teacher and mentor to me and I will miss working alongside him on a nearly everyday basis.”

Patrol Lieutenant Cory Slaymaker added his thoughts about his friend and chief, “I began working with Chief Adams in 1995. Throughout my career Chief Adams as not only been a great friend and colleague, but a great mentor. Chief Adams was always there for each of the officers. Chief Adams always wanted to make sure everyone was involved and played a role in the betterment of the Spanish Fork Police Department as well as Spanish Fork City.”

“Chief Adams was always open to new ideas and new ways to police. He developed many programs to help the citizens of Spanish Fork. He always encouraged officers to do Safe Walks at schools and business as well as to talk to as many citizens as possible to make friends in the community and to let everyone know who we were. Chief Adams has been a great leader and more so a great friend,” Slaymaker added.

In his 37 years, Adams has earned many awards including the Valor Award, Lifesaving Award (three separate times), Utah Police Officer of the Year in 2005, the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in 2012, and Utah Police Chief of the Year in 2019.

Under Chief Adams, Spanish Fork City was named the Safest City in Utah in 2021 and the 11th safest in the country. Adams attributes this accolade to the great men and women in public safety and the support they receive from Spanish Fork residents.

Spanish Fork is the fourth largest city in Utah County, with over 40,000 residents. It is the home of Nebo School District, the Utah County Fair and several businesses and community organizations. It is well known for its city recreation programs, particularly baseball and softball.

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