This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Veteran Garland Police Chief Linda Bourne has been fired effective immediately, nearly a quarter-century after she became the first female police chief in Utah.
Bourne, chief of the four-person department since 1992, was terminated by Mayor Scott Coleman, who said he had the backing of council members for the Box Elder County town of 2,400.
Coleman told The Tribune Wednesday that the decision came after he and the council had given Bourne six months to implement a number of reforms, among them beefed up training for her officers, improvements in documentation and report writing, and personnel actions the mayor would not further discuss.
Coleman said that last fall, he reached out to neighboring law enforcement agencies and attorneys to gauge how effective Garland's police were perceived to be.
"Most of the feedback I got was not very flattering," he said. "I met with the chief and told her that we had a real problem, that I wanted her to make some changes. I gave her six months, but at the end of that, really nothing has been done."
Earlier this week, Coleman met with Bourne and fired her.
"I told her it was time for new blood, that we had to go in a different direction .... She was very professional in how she's handled it," the mayor said.
Coleman said he and the council had a "plethora" of concerns about the department, but none of them involved criminal behavior or fiscal misconduct. He declined to further detail those other concerns.
"She has done a lot of very good things for our community, and I won't sully her 23 years of service to Garland. But she wasn't responsive to the things we needed done now," Coleman added.
Efforts to reach Bourne on Wednesday for comment were not successful.
Coleman said a new chief will be recruited from outside the current department. In the meantime, the Box Elder County Sheriff's Office will help fill any enforcement gaps recreated by Bourne's departure.
Coleman did not rule out further personnel actions involving the department, but said he intended to leave such decisions to the new chief.
Bourne is a Garland native, and was an animal control officer when hired as a part-time police officer in 1988. Four years later, she succeeded Bruce Johnson as chief when he left Garland for other employment.