The History of the UPOA

Who are members?

Membership is restricted to the following classifications:

Active Membership: Includes persons employed full-time in law enforcement who receive their salary from federal, state, county, or municipal governments or any subdivision thereof and who work in the State of Utah. This includes all persons whose principal occupation involves any aspect of the administration of public criminal justice. Active members who retire shall continue to be eligible for Active Membership; however, they must maintain a continuous history of membership from the date of retirement to be eligible for the death benefit.

Associate Membership: Includes persons who are employed part-time in law enforcement by a governmental agency and all persons who are members of patrols, possess or auxiliaries of a governmental agency involved in law enforcement. They may not serve as President, Vice President or Director.

Honorary Life Membership: All Past Presidents and any citizen of the State of Utah designated by the Board of Directors as a reward for outstanding public service.

Special Membership: Persons employed by private enterprise as security guards, private detectives or other fields of law enforcement. They are not entitled to hold office.

How does it work?

It is obvious that individually we can accomplish very little in reaching the Association’s goals, but as part of one united voice much can be done to bring lasting benefits to all. The association has several standing committees, all charged with some responsibility for the betterment of the Association and its members in upgrading law enforcement. The Legislative Committee is very active in your behalf each time the Legislature meets. The Utah Peace Officers Association maintains a voting position on Utah Law Enforcement Legislative Committee POST Council and the Utah State Retirement Council.

The Utah Peace Officer, official publication of the UPOA is distributed quarterly to every legislator, every Chief of Police and Sheriff, and to the members of the UPOA with an annual distribution of 12,000. This educational magazine contains articles of interest to law enforcement. Contributing authors are professional Utah police officers – working the streets to protect our citizens.

Programs Sponsored and Supported by the Utah Peace Officers Association

During the 1920s

  1. Actively supported passage of legislation in three sessions of the State Legislature which created the State Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI).

During the 1930s

  1. Included pistol competition at the annual convention to increase firearm skills of peace officers.
  2. Established the Chief’s Trophy with emphasis on agency team competition with firearms.
  3. Adopted and supported a resolution to create a statewide police radio system.
  4. Carried out many education and training programs throughout the state. (Fact: 209 sessions were held totaling 3,596 hours of class work in 1939).

During the 1949s

  1. Training programs and conferences with special emphasis on subjects that supported the war effort.
  2. Cooperated with the State Tax Commission and the Motor Vehicle Department regarding uniform accident reporting procedures.

During the 1950s

  1. Training programs and seminars continued.
  2. Supported legislation to create civil service status for deputy sheriffs statewide. Enforcing legislation passed by the State Legislature.
  3. Cooperated in the operation of a policy academy in the Utah Department of Public Safety.

During the 1960s

  1. Practical pistol course added to annual convention.
  2. Legislature increased funding for BCI to provide additional services as recommended by a Special Service Committee appointed by the UPOA.
  3. Adopted a statement recommending minimum standards for Utah law enforcement officers and supported legislation for its passage.
  4. Instrumental in passing legislation for the creation of Utah Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST).
  5. At the 1964 UPOA Annual Convention, the Utah Law Enforcement Teletype Network began operating and joined the National Law Enforcement Teletype Network.
  6. Supported a bill that passed the Legislature creating a State Medical Examiner.
  7. Legislative efforts creating a statewide public safety retirement system.
  8. Utah’s Governors Twenty program initiated to recognize shooting proficiency.

During the 1970s

  1. Began annual UPOA Mid-Winter Conventions.
  2. UPOA Auxiliary conducted projects to raise money and goods for charitable purposes.
  3. Supported legislation as follows:
    • Improved Public Safety Retirement benefits.
    • Established absolute level of blood alcohol content.
    • Established a bail bondsman act.
    • Established a death penalty law for Utah.
    • Denied bail to repeat offending felons.
    • Funding for a permanent police academy (POST).
  4. Established regions and regional representatives.

During the 1980s

  1. Worked with several organization for passage of 20 year retirement for law enforcement.
  2. Established a free library for our members.
  3. Established a permanent UPOA position on the Utah State Retirement Counsel by Utah Statute.
  4. Established a permanent UPOA position on POST Council by Utah Statute.
  5. Helped develop the Law Enforcement Legislative Committee (LELC). UPOA maintains a voting position on the LELC.
  6. Created the Utah Law Enforcement Memorial at the Utah State Capitol to honor officers killed in the line-of-duty.
  7. Summer firearms training enhanced for semi-autos.

During the 1990s

  1. Purchased a permanent building for the UPOA.
  2. Established the President’s Trophy, patterned after the Chief’s Trophy of 1935 – with emphasis on agency team competition with firearms.
  3. Drafted and passed significant exposure legislation for at-risk public safety officers.
  4. Legislative efforts enhanced spouse death benefits.
  5. PPC enhanced to include semi-auto

During the 2000s

  1. Moved to current location in Taylorsville.
  2. Continue to provide high quality, low cost training for peace officers.
  3. Included K-9 training and competition at the UPOA Annual Summer Convention.


  1. Initiated and supports the construction and funding of a new Utah Law Enforcement Memorial at the Utah State Capitol to honor officers killed in the line-of-duty.
  2. Providing valuable training dealing with identity theft investigations and other topics relevant to law enforcement.
  3. On-going legislative involvement to enhance cost-of-living benefits for retired peace officers.
  4. Established the Utah Fallen Peace Officer Trail in Moab, Utah.
  5. Established the Utah Peace Officers scholarship program.

I. Objectives

  1. To promote the best interest and welfare of all per sons engaged in law enforcement in the State of Utah.
  2. To establish among the members bonds of friendship, confidence and respect.
  3. To engage in pursuit of the knowledge of better methods of investigation, apprehension and prosecution of persons who commit crimes.
  4. To promote high moral standards, honesty, integrity, courtesy and cooperation in all phases of law enforcement.
  5. To safeguard the rights and privileges justly due peace officers.
  6. To encourage participation in activities which support the principles of our government.
  7. To initiate and carry out programs of public relations and legislation which will serve the above objectives and promote professional law enforcement.

II. Training

During the two conventions held each year, members are instructed on pertinent subjects relating to law enforcement. Firearms competition and other “fun” activities are also fostered at these conventions. Additional POST accredited training is presented throughout the year as published from time to time in UPOA publications.

III. Publications

The Utah Peace Officer is the official publication of the UPOA. This quarterly magazine contains information from recent legislation to current trends in law enforcement. The Utah Peace Officer has an annual distribution of 12,000 and is received by every State Legislator, every Chief of Police and Sheriff in Utah, as well as all members of the UPOA. The Utah Peace Officer is also distributed to every advertiser to the magazine. Contributing authors are professional Utah peace officers and other professional authors from throughout the United States.

IV. Legislation

The Utah Peace Officers Association is a voting member of the Utah Law Enforcement Legislative Committee. The ULELC works to foster beneficial law enforcement legislation. The UPOA has been instrumental in passing key legislation including: Creation of Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), passage of a Statewide Public Safety Retirement, increased spouse death benefits, and more.

V. Board of Directors

The governing body of the UPOA consists of representatives from every region of the State. To have input into the organization, you merely need to contact your regional representative.

VI. Monetary Benefits

With your $35.00 annual membership fee you will receive a $1,000 insurance benefit that will pay your beneficiary in the event of your death, whether accidentally or through other causes.

VII. UPOA Auxiliary

Membership is $10.00 per year.
Help provided by this spouses’ group:

  1. Support the UPOA in:

    1. Competition shooting
    2. Legislature
    3. Conventions
  2. Programs for spouses:
    1. Articles in The Utah Peace Officer
    2. High level training
    3. Charity and community service
    4. Help for peace officer families in need
    5. Friendship and understanding
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