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New Police Chief To Take Over Colorado City Marshal's Office

The towns of Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah, announced Thursday that a new police chief was hired for the Colorado City Marshal's Office.

Chief Mark Askerlund will serve as the head of the police force that serves both towns, which are known for being the home of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

It's been known for some time that the new hire would be from outside the community. Chief Mark Askerlund worked in a number of police departments in Salt Lake City and Cottonwood Heights, Utah. Askerlund has said he wants to bring unity to the community.

Askerlund is taking over the vacant position previously held by Jerry Darger, who was fired in March. The replacement comes at a time when some residents, including one candidate for Hildale City Councilor, have indicated distrust of the small police force.

The Marshal's Office was also a named defendant in the Department of Justice lawsuit against the towns in 2016.

Sarah Ventre produces KJZZ’s two-hour daily program, The Show. Prior to working at KJZZ, she was a producer and editor at NPR headquarters in Washington for a number of shows, desks, podcasts and the national newscast. Her reporting ranges from understanding the relationship between faith, culture, and community among those who have left the FLDS church, to political implications of world music showcases at SXSW. Ventre’s work has been featured on Weekend Edition, Weekend All Things Considered, and on member station WAMU. Ventre also freelances for the Phoenix New Times, Bitch magazine, and several other publications. Ventre grew up in the Valley and is a founder of the nonprofit organization Girls Rock! Phoenix, which puts on a rock ’n’ roll camp for girls, trans, and gender nonconforming youths every summer. She also participates in live storytelling events, and occasionally performance art. Ventre holds a degree in anthropology from Arizona State University. She is always up for a good laugh or a great chile relleno, and is happy to have returned to her hometown to tell stories within her community.