Riverton’s City Council officially named Eric Murphy as the new police chief Tuesday.
Police Chief Eric Murphy said he never truly expected to be a police chief and his wife is the reason he’s finally been able to fulfill his dream.
“As every police officer they kind of dream about being the chief of police you don’t really think it’s going to happen ever, all the way through detective, detective sergeant, all the way up through the ranks and so it was really important for me to go hug my wife first before I shook everybody’s hands because I feel like she’s really one of the biggest reasons why I’m where I’m at,” shared Chief Murphy.
One of his biggest concerns is finding new ways to mend relationships with tribal members.
“I really feel like all the other chiefs as hard as they’ve tried, we can never get a good connection with the tribes, for whatever reason it just always seems like there’s that barrier between our community and the northern Arapahoe tribe and the Eastern Shoshone tribe.”
Jane Juve, Community Relations Ombudsman commented, “I very much support that and look forward to working with chief murphy on those issues, I think that community relations with the tribal members, with the tribes with the citizens of Riverton, all that is something that does require intentional effort."
Chief Murphy added he’ll continue to pursue and support long-term alcoholism treatment programs to aid in the constant battle with the problem in Riverton.
“I think it’s a social issue, I don’t think we can arrest our way out of it, we’ve tried for 60, 70, 100 years and we are absolutely not going to arrest our way out of the problem, so we’re getting more people into long-term treatment and we’re going to continue with that, just arresting everyone for public intoxication and panhandling it’s just not working.”
As interim police chief his greatest challenge has been changing mindsets from a police officer, to more of a political figure for the city.
“I spend a lot of my time in meetings, with the mayor, the city council, doing budgets, I don’t know how to do a budget, and my wife does our own checkbook. And so those things have been really taxing on me, but it’s been fun as well. It’s been very challenging but I like challenges so it’s been a fun experience.”
Chief Murphy has been in Riverton since 2000 and has been a police officer for 19 years.
The final matter Chief Murphy discussed was making the police department more of a fun place for his officers, he said: happier officers, who enjoy their jobs, do a better job responding to calls.