Draper • Bryan Roberts cut his teeth in law enforcement nearly 30 years ago in southern California. Now, as a veteran officer, he is bringing decades of experience combined with a newly minted graduate degree to Draper as the city's new chief of police.
Roberts, 51, was sworn in about five months ago but plans to start the new year continuing to revamp some parts of the department, which serves the city of approximately 44,000. He replaced Arthur "Mac" Connole, who was hired as the city's first police chief in April 2003 and retired in 2010.
Roberts has made changes to the police policy and procedures manual and is working on assigning officers geographical beat areas to make patrol more efficient.
He's also working to find methods to recognize the city's 37 officers for particularly heroic acts on the job.
Roberts, who has family ties to Utah, said since moving to Draper from California that he can't help but "just marvel at the beauty" of the Wasatch Front and find deer walking in his backyard.
"We made the decision it would be the right place for us," Roberts said recently in his office adorned with plaques noting achievements at various police agencies. And Draper, with its fast-growing population, is a place that can learn from Roberts.
City leaders in Draper have expressed their support for Roberts.
"We are confident in Chief Roberts' abilities to take on the leadership … he has many years of experience to bring to our city," said Mayor Darrell H. Smith in a city newsletter to residents announcing Robert's hiring.
Despite its rapidly growing population, Draper has cut crime by 10 percent over the past seven years.
In 2003, when the city started its own police department separate from county service, the population was 25,000 and had 23 officers. In 2004, there were 1,042 crimes reported, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports.
In 2011, the crime rate declined to 925 reported crimes. Roberts said a career in law enforcement has always been his calling.
As a young teen, Roberts participated in the Los Angeles Police Deputy Explorer program where youth help officers do nonhazardous duties like writing reports and fingerprinting.
After heading off to college at 21, Roberts asked himself "am I prepared to do this?" He then spent four years in the military as a Marine to mature before deciding to follow through on his childhood dream to be a cop.
With more confidence, Roberts started his law enforcement career at the age of 25 and spent the next few decades in southern California at the Ventura Police Department where he rose through the ranks.
In 2006, he moved to Citrus Heights after the city formed its own police force. For the past two years, he has served as the police chief in Menlo Park, a city similar in size to Draper.
Roberts' daily duties consist of managing the D.A.R.E. program as well as making sure officers are given the help, knowledge and tools they need for the job. He identifies crime trends in the city and develops plans to be "proactive instead of reactive."
For him, career highlights don't come from solving a certain case, but from an overall satisfaction that comes from public service.
He said he never forgets moments when an officer makes a connection with a victim or their family.
"They grab your hand and their eyes are watering and they thank you for how you have helped them," Roberts said. "Those are the priceless moments."
About the chief
Draper Police Chief Bryan Roberts attended the University of California-Santa Barbara, where he briefly played college basketball. He earned a master's degree in public administration from California State University Northridge and also a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from Azusa Pacific University. He completed his master's in security studies in 2011 from the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Center for Homeland Defense and Security.