BLACKFOOT — Kurt Asmus has mixed emotions as he steps down today as chief of the Blackfoot Police Department.
“There’s excitement for the changes that will come as a result of this,” Asmus said. “It’s allowed for changes internally, I’m excited for them too.”
Veteran Scott Gay will be stepping in as the new chief. Other internal changes include Gordon Croft as captain, Blake Davis as patrol lieutenant, Manny Delacruz as patrol sergeant, two new corporals on patrol in Cliff Evans and Kenny Williams, and a new detective in Travis Mayne. Mayne has been serving as the resource officer at Blackfoot High School, so a new resource officer there will need to be named.
“These are exciting changes,” Asmus said. “It’s been a good run.”
His career started with the Bingham County reserves in 1991, then he was hired by Blackfoot in May of that year. He worked in patrol for five years, went on to patrol corporal, and was promoted to detective — “earlier than I wanted to, but it all worked out,” Asmus said.
He served in the department as a captain starting in 2002 until he replaced Dave Moore as chief in 2013.
Asmus said the thing he’s enjoyed the most during his time in local law enforcement has been his patrol work.
“To me, that’s where you have more of an effect in the community,” he said. “That’s the front lines, seeing people more face to face.”
Asmus has seen a lot of changes in the field during his career. He remembers when armored vests were optional, cell phones didn’t exist so dispatchers would radio officers to have them call by pulling up to a pay phone and dialing 9-1-1.
“Technology has seen the most changes through the years,” he said.
On the topic of phones, one thing Asmus said he won’t miss is having to be connected to his cell phone all the time.
“I’ve found myself forgetting my phone two or three times through the years, so then I have to let them know to call my wife’s phone,” he added. “It’ll be nice not to have to worry about that.”
Asmus said he’s forged a lot of good relationships both personally and professionally through the years. He’s seen a lot of support for law enforcement in the community.
“When something bad happens for one of our guys, people rally around,” he noted. “As police officers, we can be our own worst enemy when people see some of the bad things that happen in the field. But locally, we’re sheltered from the negative things quite a bit. The community is very supportive and I’d like to say thank you to the community for all that you do.”
One of the things Asmus said he has been most proud of is the service provided by his department on a tight city budget.
“Internally, the level of training has been very good despite finding ourselves watching the budget,” he said. “We give the best bang for the buck.”
Asmus realizes there’s always something that could be done differently, but if he made a mistake he would stand up and say he made a mistake.
He said he’s leaving the department in extremely good hands, noting that Gay has been with the department longer than Asmus has.
“I’ve learned a lot from him through the years,” Asmus said. “We’ve shared a lot of good times.”
Asmus will be honored at a retirement celebration today at Blackfoot City Hall Council Chambers from 1-3 p.m.
As for retirement plans, Asmus sees a fair amount of recreation in his future.
“I’ll golf more,” he said. “I’ll relearn how to fly fish. We had our first grandchild in April, so we’ll be spending more time with the grandchild.
“I’d like to thank the officers that have helped me in my career, the mayors, the city council members, the community for its support. I wish everybody the best.”