The Cottonwood Heights Police Department (CHPD) experienced significant change over the past few months. Three of CHPD’s original officers retired, five new recruits finished the academy and began work, and two officers were promoted.
On July 25, Lt. Mark Askerlund celebrated his retirement with the Cottonwood Heights City Council during a weekly city council meeting by thanking the mayor and council for being there.
“We want to thank you,” replied Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore. “If we could make you stay longer, we would. (Chief Robby Russo) has relied on you. You should feel tremendous pride with developing this police department.”
The councilmembers asked Askerlund what his favorite highlights were from his years with the city.
“Getting in on the ground level and helping to build and organize the police department,” Askerlund said without hesitation. “And working with the good citizens of Cottonwood Heights. The citizenry here has been great. They support our police officers.”
Two additional officers, Sam Dawson and Ken Eatchel, retired this past month.
On Aug. 8, Russo introduced five new officers to the city council members and staff. First and foremost was Brady Askerlund, “nephew of the retired guy,” Russo said.
“Brady Askerlund just completed post. In a few short months, he will be a working officer,” Russo said as Brady’s wife of five months pinned his badge to his uniform while his uncle and dad sat in attendance.
“I’m excited to start my career here and carry on the legacy. I’ll hopefully live up to Mark’s name,” Brady said.
Russo continued with Brady’s introduction, “He graduated from Riverton and started the academy on his 21st birthday. He was in the academy for four months and is looking forward to FTO (field training officer). He met his wife in high school where they dated for four and a half years.”
City Manager John Park said they interviewed him two and a half months before getting him into the academy. “I wanted him to start tomorrow, but we had to wait four months before he turned 21. We are very excited to have him.”
The next officer Russo introduced was Devon Blaisdell. “He came from another police department, where he worked for three years. He is 22 years old and grew up in the valley. He has already been here for two and a half months.”
“Cottonwood Heights is a great city with lots of support from the citizens,” Blaisdell said.
The next officer to be introduced was Kyle Maloney. Russo introduced him as his wife and two girls stood up next to him for the badge pinning.
“He was working for UTA but wanted to do real police work,” Russo joked. “He will fit right in, we are really proud of him and his family.”
Maloney said he was with UTA for about two years and noted how quiet it was. “I’m happy to be here,” he said.
Kenyon Kowa was the next new officer to be introduced. “Kowa was one of the AP&P (adult probation and parole) officers assigned over here,” Russo said. “If he was after you, you better turn yourself in because he is real good at his job.”
“I’ve been with corrections for six and a half years,” Kowa said. “I started there and was there for two years, supervising sex offenders and paroles. Most recently I’ve been on the FBI major crime task force. I grew up in Centerville, went to Weber State and got my degree in criminal justice.”
Kowa said the culture and the feeling of family within the CHPD were big selling points for him.
Lastly, Adam Jeter was introduced as a new officer for the CHPD. Jeter has many years in police work, including four and a half years at the Sheriff’s office. Before the Sheriff’s office, he worked for West Valley for a year. This was his fifth badge pinning ceremony.
After the new officers had been introduced, Russo announced the promotion of JD Tazoi to sergeant. “It’s a difficult thing to do because of all the competition in the department,” Russo said.
Tazoi’s family, including his mom, dad, son and daughter were in the audience to support him.
“Thank you very much for the opportunity. I love working here. I’ve been here for five years, two of which were on special assignment with the DEA,” Tazoi said.
After Tazoi was seated, Cullimore called up a member from the audience named Amber. She approached the podium timidly, not knowing what to expect.
“It was my privilege to perform a wedding between Amber and Dan, who is now part of our police department. It’s felt like they have been family for quite a while,” Cullimore said before turning to Amber and handing her something. “Do me a favor, and have your husband come up and pin this on him. He is being promoted to one of our sergeants.”
As Dan walked up to meet his wife, Cullimore informed the audience that the new sergeant didn’t know he had passed the test, until just now. His kids attacked him with hugs.
“The city has been wonderful to me and my family for five years,” he said. “This is just the next step.”
“I honestly do feel like we have the best police department in the state,” Cullimore said. “We are thrilled to have the police force that we do. We are being successful and recruit only the very best.”