The woman who will be introducing Moab’s new police chief at the next Grand County League of Women Voters meeting on Monday, Dec. 11, worked with Jim Winder in Salt Lake City during the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Dale Weiss is a retired FBI agent; both she and Winder, who was hired as Moab police chief in July, were involved in training 10,000 public safety officers – volunteers from around the world – for the Winter Olympics event. At the time, Winder was sergeant in charge of special operations for the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office. He had also been a longtime police instructor, Weiss said.
Winder trained officers in cold weather safety, and using dogs for bomb detection and management. He was also in charge of the mobile field source during the Olympics – he trained 3,000 people in that area, alone, Weiss said.
“He is a wonderful instructor – his presentations were always humorous – everybody wanted to come see Jim speak,” Weiss said. “He is highly intelligent; he knows how to inspire and motivate people. He’s very personable, very articulate.”
Winder is known throughout Europe and the U.S. for his service dog training skills. He continues to judge service dog competitions throughout the U.S. and Europe.
Winder, 53, and his wife Shawn (also a dog trainer and handler) and their two children volunteered at a recent cat adoption event at Moab’s animal shelter.
Saxon Sharpe, president of the board of directors for the Humane Society of Moab Valley, was helping out at the event where she met Winder and his family for the first time.
“He was there, interacting with kids, cats, everybody in the room,” Sharpe said. “Not only did they volunteer for the day, they arrived an hour and a half early to clean out boxes, mop the floor. They’re a fabulous family.”
The Grand County League of Women Voters chose to introduce Winder at the December meeting because “we heard really great things about him and he has interesting ideas about policing,” local league co-president Darcey Brown said. “We wanted to do something to welcome him,” and give community members an opportunity to meet him and ask questions.
The program is an opportunity to hear about any changes Chief Winder would like to make, as well as discussing enforcement issue concerns related to noise, drugs and homelessness, Brown said. A holiday hot cider will be served at the meeting.
Weiss noted that Winder is big on training his officers on mental health issues and how they relate to crime.
“He’s very prepared and believes in training his people to be prepared,” Weiss said. “I was thrilled to hear that he had been hired as Moab police chief. He’s a highly respected officer and I knew he would do a good job. We’re lucky to have him.”
The League of Women Voters is open to both men and women, and meets on the second Monday of each month, from September through May. The group chooses a topic of community interest to present to the public during the monthly meetings.
“We also welcome topics from the community,” Brown said.
The nonpartisan league’s mission is to encourage voter participation and civic engagement by providing unbiased information about elections, the voting process and issues. There are currently 100 members. New members are always welcome.
The league also studies issues and prepares reports for the Utah League of Women Voters – on topics such as the move to relocate and expand the Utah State Prison.
“We interviewed local law enforcement about the need for expanding the jail,” Brown said. “The (local) league reached the consensus not to recommend relocating the jail, and to pursue diversion programs,” instead, to reduce the prison population, Brown said.