Swanson named Chief of the YearMar 08, 2021 02:31PM ● By Becky Ginos
LAYTON—For 30 years Layton Police Chief Allen Swanson has been in law enforcement. He was recently honored for his service by the Utah Chiefs of Police Association that named him 2020 Chief of the Year.
Swanson started his career in 1990 as an agent with the Indiana State Alcoholic Beverage Commission. He joined the Layton Police Department in 1992.
“I was an undercover agent with the Narcotics Drug Force,” he said. “I’d had previous experience and no one knew me here. I went undercover as a high school student. I was really 24 but looked young for my age.”
It was interesting, said Swanson. “I took my girlfriend to a Christmas dance. She was actually a student at Weber State. That was kind of fun.”
His job was to look for students who were doing or dealing drugs. “I did that for a year at Woods Cross, Mountain High and Davis,” Swanson said. “At the end of the year we would round up all the students I’d purchased drugs from and arrest them.”
When he was no longer in high schools, Swanson went after adults. “That was much more rewarding,” he said. “With the youth, sometimes I had to befriend them but then arrest them. They were just human beings making poor decisions.”
Back in the day, things were not as safe as now, he said. “I’d be alone making a drug purchase and my backup was down the road. We didn’t have the same technology we have today.”
Swanson served in various positions including 10 years on the SWAT team and four years as the Commander of the Davis Metro Narcotics Strike Force. He became Assistant Chief in 2008 and was appointed Chief in 2015.
The department has 85 officers but Swanson would like to add more. “Our challenge is the population growth in Layton,” he said. “We have 80,000 people. The challenge is to find good, qualified people to be officers. The last test we held we had 75 applicants and only 25 showed up. When I tested back in 1992 there were 250 applicants. It’s dwindled down over the years.”
His goal is to enhance community outreach. “I want to find new and better ways to improve,” he said. “With COVID, activities have been a little thin. But in the past we offered things like an assault defense course for women and young teens. We host radKIDS, that teaches young, elementary kids to fend off would-be kidnappers. We met with a local barber who was giving free haircuts for kids so we were down there interacting with them.”
Swanson was surprised by the award. “I didn’t even know that I’d gotten it,” he said. “It’s a humbling experience for sure.”