GCPD chief announces retirement

After a 36-year career, Garden City Police Chief Mike Utz has announced his retirement effective March 2021.


"I have been truly blessed to be a part of the Garden City Police Department (GCPD) family, working for the City of Garden City, and engaging in our community. I grew from a young patrol officer to have the blessing and support of the City Manager to serve as your Chief of Police for the past five years," remarked Utz. "In March of next year, it will be time to close the chapter of my 36 years at the GCPD, over 40-years in law enforcement. My family has been supportive of me during my law enforcement career, and I have found that it is time I devote my life with my wife Teresa, my three daughters, and their family, who have blessed us with nine grandchildren. Teresa and I plan on continuing to live in Garden City, as this is our home and where we raised our family," said Utz. "I would like to thank our community which as been, and continues to be, awesome in their continued support for the GCPD. To the GCPD community, we are truly blessed with the caliber of men and women within our organization, for they are passionate about their job and serving our community, and I am grateful for having served as your Chief," said Utz.


Utz began his career with the Garden City Police Department in September of 1984 as a Police Officer and Field Training Officer. Over the next 36 years, he would move up through the ranks in the department from Detective, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Caption, and ultimately Chief. Mike Utz’s tenure as Police Chief included building relationships between the department and the different racial and ethnic minority populations that call Garden City "home."


These relationships proved critical in helping the community cope with the raw mixture of emotions that followed the thwarted bomb plot against a large apartment complex in October 2016. Chief Utz also led the department through an in-depth third party management study in 2019 that helped create a road map for operational changes that will benefit the department, city government, and community for years to come. Under the direction of Chief Utz, various programs were implemented in the department and community. These programs include the Law Enforcement Explorer Program, body-worn and in-car cameras, the Police Chaplain Program, the PEER Support Program to assist police personnel in handling traumatic events, the Finney County Opioid Task Force, and the Ethnic Empowerment Network.


"Mike is a dedicated law enforcement officer for our community and is an active participant and respected voice in multi-state criminal investigation circles as well as state and national law enforcement associations," remarked City Manager Matt Allen. "The attribute that stands out the most to me is how Mike has evolved as a leader. He didn’t rest on his past accomplishments when he became Chief. Mike regularly sought input from inside and outside the department on how to improve and be the best Chief he could be. He’s used all of that input and married it with his considerable talent, all in support of GCPD sworn and non-sworn staff and the GCPD mission: To build a partnership with the community to improve the quality of life, provide a safe community through efficient and effective police service, while always respecting the rights and dignity of those we serve," said Allen.


The City will begin the search for it’s next Chief of Police immediately, beginning with the development of a Chief of Police profile. Following the development of a profile, the City will advertise the opening and will consider applications from within the organization and around the country. A new Police Chief is expected to be appointed and begin working in the first quarter of 2021.