New Chief of Police named in Grand Junction

Matt Smith, of Grand Junction, has been selected as the new Chief of Police. Smith originally...
Matt Smith, of Grand Junction, has been selected as the new Chief of Police. Smith originally joined the GJPD in 1999.(City of Grand Junction)
Published: Jan. 21, 2023 at 3:40 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Matt Smith has been selected as the new Chief of Police in Grand Junction.

“The national search for a new Chief of Police was a comprehensive one. In addition to the standard application review and background check, the process included opportunities for police department personnel and the community to meet each candidate and ask questions,” said Greg Caton, city manager. “We were impressed with the caliber of candidates, and felt the process was key to determining the most qualified candidate to take on this important role for our city.”

The intensive national search began with listening sessions conducted by the city manager for the community and the police department.

Input from those sessions was incorporated into an online survey designed to gather additional community input on the type of experience and characteristics being sought in a new police chief.

The city received 31 total applications including both in-state and out-of-state candidates.

Applications were screened and those selected to move forward in the process were invited for a telephone interview.

Three final candidates were then selected for the next steps in the process; however, one candidate withdrew. The two remaining candidates participated in the two-day assessment center that included an in-person meeting with police department personnel, a reception for the community at the Avalon Theater, and a breakfast meeting with City Council.

In addition, interviews were conducted with three different panels: department directors, law enforcement professionals, and community leaders.

Final steps in the process included review of comment cards collected during the community reception and a feedback session for the police department hosted by the city manager.

“I am happy to announce the selection of Matt Smith as the new Chief of the Grand Junction Police Department,” said Caton. “He was selected based on his experience in law enforcement as well as having a reputation as a strong, compassionate leader. We believe his longstanding relationships will help to create an environment of mutual trust and cooperation within the Grand Junction community.”

Smith has been serving in the interim role as Chief for the past three months. He joined the Grand Junction Police Department in 1999 after beginning his law enforcement career with the Cortez Police Department.

Smith has served as a deputy chief for the department for the past three years. During that time, Smith has overseen the Operations division which includes patrol and all other uniformed personnel as well as the Services division which includes Investigations, Training, Internal Affairs Office, the Records Department, and the Property and Evidence Lab, as well as the Grand Junction Regional Communication Center.

During his tenure with the Grand Junction Police Department, Smith was promoted through the ranks from Sergeant to Commander to Deputy Chief.

Special assignments have included participating as a detective on the Grand Valley Joint Drug Task Force, as a Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) officer, and providing oversight of the Community Resource Unit, and School Resource Officers, Code Enforcement, Professional Standards, the driving program, firearms, patrol tactics, and serving as the SWAT Commander.

Smith is a veteran of the United States Navy and serves as a member of the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police, the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the FBI National Academy Associates.

Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Colorado Technical University and is a graduate of the 271st FBI National Academy and the 58th Session of PERF’s Senior Management Institute for Police. Smith also attended the National Tactical Officers Association SWAT Command Decision-Making and Leadership course.