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After just two years on the job, Provo Police Chief Rick Gregory announced Wednesday he was resigning a decision, he said, that puts his family first.
Gregory sent an e-mail to his department Wednesday morning stating that, after much thought and "internal wrangling," he and his wife have decided to move closer to their children in Ohio and to a place where Gregory's wife can "call home and put down roots. This is a family first decision!"
Gregory has not set a definitive date yet for when he will leave, but it will likely happen in the next four to six weeks, said Deputy Mayor Corey Norman. Mayor John Curtis will name an interim chief around the same time, Norman added.
Of all his 32 years in public safety, Gregory said in the e-mail that none have been more rewarding than his two years in Provo.
"I leave Provo with mixed emotions sad to leave a career in a place that offers so many challenges, opportunities and where we have enjoyed many accomplishments, to excitement about making Ohio our permanent home and the new opportunities there," he wrote. He added how much he appreciates the men and women he worked with, Curtis and the community.
The news of Gregory's departure is "difficult for all of us," Curtis said in a statement. "He's been a partner, confidant, and friend to our community and me personally."
Curtis admired Gregory's ability to unite the police department and his influence, citing a significant decrease in crime due to his passion for proactive police work and community-oriented policies.
"I'm confident that the momentum we've felt and vision we've seen will continue," Curtis added. "That really is one of the measures of a true leader."
Gregory, a former Delaware lawman, senatorial staffer and lieutenant colonel with Florida Highway Patrol, was hired in June 2011 to head the police force two years ago following a troubled time for the department.
Gregory, whose family has Utah roots, replaced Dave Bolda, who had been serving as interim chief after Chief Craig Geslison retired in January 2011. Geslison announced his departure just as an external investigation into his department began.
Geslison's retirement came on the heels of ex-officer Jeffery Westerman's guilty plea to attempted forcible sexual abuse and obstructing justice for groping a woman during a traffic incident, and Officer Mark Petersen's "no contest" plea to charges of disorderly conduct and obstruction of justice for allegedly threatening his girlfriend with a handgun.
A third officer had also resigned under pressure after he was accused of stealing prescription pills from a Provo home during a 911 call.