Longest serving sheriff in Utah County’s history dies from COVID-19 complications

David R. Bateman. Photo Courtesy: Utah County Sheriff's Office

UTAH COUNTY, Utah, Jan. 21, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — The longest serving sheriff in Utah County’s history passed away Wednesday from complications related to COVID-19.

David R. Bateman, who served as sheriff for over 18 years, was 80 years old. His cause of death was confirmed by the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

“Sheriff Bateman was hired as a deputy for the Utah County Sheriff’s Office in 1973,” the news release said. “Sheriff Bateman served in a variety of assignments until he was appointed sheriff when former Sheriff Mack Holley retired in 1985. He served as sheriff until his own retirement in 2003. His tenure of 18 years as Utah County sheriff is longer than any other sheriff in Utah County.”

During his time with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office he directed the construction of the Security Center in Spanish Fork, the news release said. From 30 inmates in one of the old jails when he started in 1973, to over 600 inmates in the current jail when he retired, Bateman oversaw dramatic growth not only in jail population, but in the number of deputies and civilian staff with the sheriff’s office, with over 190 sworn deputies at the time of his retirement.

“During his time in office, he actively participated in state and national organizations like the Utah Sheriff’s Association, the National Sheriff’s Association, the American Jail Association, and the National Corrections Association, serving in several different leadership roles,” the news release said.

“In 1996, the Utah Sheriff’s Association selected Sheriff Bateman as ‘Sheriff of the Year,’ recognizing his many accomplishments. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy and Weber State University.”

It was during Bateman’s administration that the Sheriff’s Communication Auxiliary Team was established. He also revitalized other volunteer organizations including Search and Rescue, Jeep Patrol (now Volunteers in Police Service-VIPS), Sheriff’s Mounted Posse, Timpanogos Emergency Response Team, and youth Explorer Posts through Boy Scouts of America. Bateman also oversaw the creation of the Crime Prevention Merit Badge through BSA.

“Sheriff Bateman was a self-effacing man who preferred that others get attention and credit for improvements brought about during his administration,” the news release said. “During his time, he was sheriff longer than he was not. His ideas and accomplishments as the sheriff of Utah County had, and will continue to have, a lasting impact on the deputies and employees with whom he served. Sheriff Mike Smith and the entire Utah County Sheriff’s Office wish to express heartfelt condolences to his family for the loss of this good and kind man.”


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