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Meet the only female police chief in the state of Utah

By Scott McKane,

2023-03-15
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The police department for Utah's second-largest city, West Valley City, is led by a woman who hopes to inspire young girls to pursue a career in police work.

Colleen Jacobs is the sole member of an exclusive club - she's the only female police chief in the state of Utah.

"We have, I think, 109 chiefs of police in Utah, I'm the only female in Utah," Jacobs said.

The West Valley City Police Department has 218 sworn officers and 16 are female.

She prefers to stay out of the spotlight, but Jacobs is a lifelong Utahn, born and raised in Tooele and said it's taken a lot of hard work to get where she is today.

"I think initially, it kinda bugged me that there was so much focus on my gender but since then I've learned to embrace the mentorship that comes with the role," Jacobs said. "I really do try and be a good mentor, role model and embrace that."

Nobody in her family is in law enforcement but Jacobs said she was inspired by a high school substitute teacher who was a police officer. She began with a criminal justice class in high school.

"It clicked for me, it made sense to me," Jacobs explained. "I don't want to say it was easy but it made sense, so I kind of went in that direction."

After high school, Jacobs studied criminal justice at Weber State University before getting a job with the West Valley City Police Department.

"I started here when I was a 21-year-old kid so, from day one I've just tried to do the job to the best of my abilities, whatever my job was at the time," Jacobs explained. "Whether I was in Patrol or in detectives or a sergeant or in narcotics, as a chief, I just strive really hard to do my best."

Jacobs believes her different assignments have helped her to better relate to and work with everyone in the department.

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