Morgan resident Keith Squires rose from applicants across the country to be named a member of Governor Gary Herbert’s cabinet.
“I appreciate the trust that Governor Herbert, the legislature, and the people of Utah have placed in me to serve as their commissioner of Public Safety,” Squires said on Wednesday of his new appointment as the commissioner of the Utah Department of Public Safety.
This position is part of the governor’s cabinet and as such, there is a rigorous selection process. A quest to find the most qualified candidate for the position looked for leaders all across the nation. Squires stood out from the competition, earning him the governor’s recommendation.
“As a nationally-recognized leader in law enforcement and homeland security, Keith has earned the respect and admiration of Utah’s public safety community. He has the vision and skill to lead our Public Safety team forward as they work to serve and protect the citizens of our State,” Governor Gary Herbert stated in June when he named Squires as the Commissioner of Public Safety.
This position is a four-year term, which extends six months after the governor’s term to ensure continuity of services.
Being named commissioner of Utah Department of Public Safety by the governor was the first and most major step in the process to actually being confirmed. Squires participated in a hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee, who unanimously voted in favor of Squires. On Wednesday, July 17, 2013, Squires met with the entire senate.
Squires felt the great responsibility that comes with the position the day he was confirmed a member of the cabinet. As commissioner of the Utah Department of Public Safety, Squires will oversee the Utah Highway Patrol, State Bureau of Investigation, Utah Emergency Management, Bureau of Criminal Identification, Dive Team, Highway Safety, Administrative Services, Communications, Utah Driver License Division, Emergency Management, and Peace Officer Training and Standards.
“Utah is recognized for its quality of life and great communities that are built upon having the best public safety services possible,” Squires said. “I look forward to working closely with all of our state’s public safety officials in finding innovative ways to coordinate our resources and provide the most efficient use of the public funds,” Squires stated upon his appointment by Governor Herbert.
This is not Squire’s first position of great responsibility. Squires has served as deputy commissioner under retiring Commissioner Lance Davenport. In that position he assisted in the oversight responsibility for 1,573 Department of Public Safety employees and a budget of $190 million.
Keryl Squires has proudly watched as her husband has risen throughout the ranks. When she met him, he was a sargent in the Highway Patrol. Since their 1995 marriage, she has seen many advancements. She was excited for her husband to be sworn in with happiness he had “made it to the top.” Even more than thinking about her husband’s climb, Keryl is delighted to have a leader with integrity and dedication in the important position. She feels that there isn’t anybody that cares more about the safety of Utah than Keith. She says he puts in countless hours to ensure public safety.
Squires began in local law enforcement in Morgan County. He joined the Utah Highway Patrol, where he served as a trooper, sergeant, lieutenant, captain and assistant superintendent of the Highway Patrol. He also worked as director of the Utah State Bureau of Investigation and deputy director of the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.
Squires received an undergraduate degree in criminal justice administration from Columbia College of Missouri and a master’s degree in Homeland Security and Defense from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy.
Squires is the current chairman of various national committees including the President’s Director of National Intelligence State and Local Law Enforcement Advisory Board, as well as the National Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council, and he was the National Governors Association’s Homeland Security Advisors Council chairman in 2012. He is the chairman of the four-state Rocky Mountain HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) Executive Board’s Intelligence Committee and represents Utah law enforcement on the eight-state Rocky Mountain Information Network (RMIN) Executive Board.
His career has taken him all over the state of Utah. Keith and Keryl happily moved back to Morgan eight years ago when his job allowed him to. He feels honored to represent Morgan, as well as the state of Utah.
“The relationship between the state and Morgan County is great,” Squires stated. Being a part of our community allows him to ‘run into counterparts regularly’ in Morgan. The state agency provides all of the state’s public safety needs. He has worked with public safety officials in Morgan and has found them to be great partners.