After 18 years with the Brigham City Police Department, Kurt Fertig feels well prepared to take on the newest challenge in his law enforcement career.
Fertig, who officially assumed the role of Tremonton Police Chief on June 1, has worked closely with Tremonton police throughout the years and already knows some of the officers who now report to him.
“I’ve been lucky to have a lot of connections here already,” he said during an interview in his new office. “I already knew this department had a lot of real good officers, and I knew that Chief (David) Nance ran the department really well, so I knew I was coming into a good situation. So far it’s been a very comfortable transition.”
He has also lived in Tremonton with his family for the past four years, giving him a chance to become familiar with the city in which he is now the top public safety official.
“We like it here,” he said. “We like the combination of a small-town feel, with farmers’ fields, cows and wide open spaces, but you still have access to everything you need. It’s a big part of the reason I applied for this job.”
Another big reason is Fertig’s deep commitment to law enforcement — a career he had never considered going into when he moved from his hometown of Jacksonville, North Carolina in 1992 to study biology at Brigham Young University.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in conservation biology at BYU, but instead of finding work in that field, he came across the Police Corps scholarship program, and the rest is history.
“Once you get into this job, it just grows on you,” he said. “It’s so interesting and so rewarding. You never know what each day will bring.”
Fertig started his law enforcement career as a patrolman in Brigham City. He earned his detective shield and starting working on financial crimes and crimes against persons, then after earning a master’s degree in criminal justice from Weber State University, was promoted to sergeant in 2006.
After that he spent the majority of his time in Brigham City as a shift sergeant on the road. In the four months prior to getting his new job Tremonton, he worked as detective sergeant in the investigations unit at BCPD.
While he transitions into his new job, he is continuing his education and will soon receive a doctoral degree in political science, with an emphasis in public law, from Idaho State University. He’s currently working to finish his dissertation, researching ancient codes in an attempt to find the origins of human rights law.
“I really like the balance between academic perceptions of law enforcement and the real world application of it,” he said. “It has given me a balanced perspective.”
Fertig met his wife, Larissa, while both were students at BYU. They have now been married for almost 21 years, and have five children ranging from eight to 19 years old.
He said Larissa married him before either of them knew he would pursue a career in law enforcement, and she has been supportive of his choice throughout.
“She’s very outgoing, whereas I’m more reserved,” he said. “She helps me get out and make friends. It’s important, when you see a lot of the bad in people in this job, to get out and see the good that’s out there, and she helps me do that.”
In what little spare time he can find, he said he enjoys landscaping his yard, fishing with his three sons, and listening to his two daughters talk to him about their lives. He also tries to spend as much time as possible with Larissa.
In his new position as chief, he oversees a staff of 10 sworn officers and three part-timers. He has already been working to get the city to find room in its budget for an 11th sworn officer, believing the city needs it as it continues to grow.
While he didn’t officially start as police chief until last Friday, he spent the last half of May working jointly with Nance, who is now officially retired after 14 years on the job.
“I have him on speed dial,” Fertig said.
Meanwhile, he’s excited to lead the police force in the town he and his family call home.
“I’m really looking forward to working with these guys to make a positive difference in Tremonton, a place I’m very fond of,” he said. “I’m anticipating good things from this group. They do a lot that goes unnoticed.”