REXBURG — The Madison County sheriff has accepted a new job and will begin working for a local university later this month.
Madison County Sheriff Rick Henry will become the director of public safety at Brigham Young University-Idaho, university spokesman Brett Crandall said. He starts Oct. 16.
“I’m up for the challenge. I’m excited about what comes next,” Henry told EastIdahoNews.com.
The previous director of public safety, Stephen Bunnell, passed away in August at age 60.
Henry has been the Madison County sheriff since 2017, and said he was not planning to rerun for sheriff next year.
“I was going to go ahead and retire. I am in my 33rd year of law enforcement right now and most of the people I have served in law enforcement with have retired. I am one of the last ones left,” he said.
As Henry was looking toward a life beyond law enforcement, he came across the new opportunity.
“I saw a job opening come up at BYU-Idaho and it was in a field that I can excel at and help the university expand. I put in for it and I was offered the position,” he said.
Henry’s new job will entail maintaining security for the students, which he says is right up his alley.
“I understand leadership and I understand relationships and I am really excited about continuing to build the relationships that I currently have within this community and to help the university build those relationships,” Henry said.
Although Henry is excited for this new opportunity, it is a bittersweet moment leaving the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.
“I am going to miss this place terribly. It was the single greatest experience of my law enforcement career to be able to serve this community that I have lived in for the last 26 years. It’s been a wonderful experience,” he said.
He is grateful for the opportunity he has had to serve the community. He says Madison County has shown a great deal of loyalty and support to first responders.
“Serving in this community has been a high point just because as you look across this nation and what has happened in law enforcement, this community has never ever let down their guard. They have protected their law enforcement community, they have supported their law enforcement community and they continue to do that,” Henry said.
Henry started his career in 1991 with the Pocatello Police Department. He was there for seven years. He got married and his law enforcement career brought him to the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office and the Teton County Sheriff’s Office, where he said he worked around 19 years between the two offices. He then decided to run for sheriff in Madison County for his last few years before retirement.
“I had a lot of goals set for … the Madison County Sheriff’s Office … when I took office,” Henry said. “I’ve got to say we surpassed all of the goals and the dreams that we had to take this place to a different level and we accomplished it in seven years and I thought it would take a lot more than that,”
One of the goals he had during his time as sheriff included changing the culture.
“I had a deputy named Bart Quayle who I brought in here as my chief deputy at the time, and really the idea was that we wanted to change the culture so that every person that comes here to Madison County to work here at the sheriff’s office, understood the very most basic thing … was that we are literally servants in this community,” he said.
He explained that meant the sheriff’s office was out patrolling and involved with people in the community.
“We wanted our people to be involved in church, involved in coaching, involved in everything that you could possibly be involved in within the community. That way, we would start building trust with the community,” Henry said. “We made sure that we showed that we were all about servant leadership and so we served and served and served.”
He wants to accomplish goals in his new position at BYU-Idaho.
“I am hoping that we can come up as a group with some more goals and some dreams … and how we can make security at BYU-Idaho just the best it can possibly be,” Henry said.
Henry’s last day in the sheriff’s office will most likely be Friday, Oct. 13. He is hoping there will be someone who will take over his sheriff’s position by then.
Henry did not reveal who he prefers his replacement to be, but did talk highly about an unspecified person.
“There is an individual who currently is here and I am hoping that he puts in. I am hoping that he does because he currently knows our vision, our mission and he’s familiar with the culture that we have created here over the last seven years,” Henry said.
According to Madison County Commissioner Chairman Todd Smith, the process to find an interim sheriff will start with the Madison County Republican Central Committee. The committee will allow people to submit resumes and will typically submit up to three names for consideration to the Madison County Commission.
The commissioners will then make the appointment.