Lt. Mike Rapich has taken over the reins of the UHP’s Tooele office — but don’t expect to see him sitting behind his desk too often.
“I enjoy being out on patrol,” Rapich said Monday. “I’m still young enough that I like to be out with my troopers and with the public.”
Born in Bountiful, Rapich moved with his family to Green River, Utah when he was six years old.
“My dad, who is also with the Utah Highway Patrol, was transferred to Green River,” Rapich explained.
Even though there were only 100 students from 7th- through 12th-grade at the Green River high school, Rapich said he loved growing up there.
“I played basketball, baseball and ran track,” he said. Then, with a modest grin in adds, “My high school was so small that everyone got to play.”
Lt. Rapich says baseball was his favorite sport and he coaches in the local National Baseball League for boys ages nine through 12. His oldest son, Jeremy, is 12. Wyatt, who is six, will start playing machine pitch ball this coming spring.
Karrie Rapich, the lieutenant’s wife, is employed at Mountain America Credit Union in Tooele.
Although Lt. Rapich is new to the Tooele UHP office, he and his family has lived in Tooele County for the past six years. They lived in Tooele two years before moving to Stockton.
“We like horses and we love the rural atmosphere,” he said. It was while he was still in high school that Lt. Rapich knew he wanted a career with the UHP. Because his dad was a UHP officer, he said the career choice wasn’t a difficult one to make.
Following high school graduation, Rapich joined the Coast Guard where he worked in law enforcement and search and rescue. He was stationed off the coast of Florence, Ore., and that’s where he met his wife.
After Rapich completed his tour of duty with the Coast Guard, he and Karrie came back to Utah. Six months later he was hired by the UHP. Until his new assignment earlier this month, he worked out of the Salt Lake office.
Rapich attended Weber State University and the College of Eastern Utah. He is currently working on a bachelor of science degree from Colombia College in Salt Lake City.
The lieutenant said one of the reasons he loves serving in Tooele County is because of the camaraderie between the law enforcement agencies.
“In Salt Lake County, most departments work on their own,” he said. “Here in Tooele County, all the agencies work together. We investigate together, go on break together, and we all help each other. I enjoy that a lot.”
With his new assignment, Rapich is supervisor of two UHP sergeants and a total of 11 troopers, as well as UHP secretary, Nora Ostler.
“We have Sgt. Andrew Nelson in Wendover and Sgt. Troy Marx in the Tooele office,” he said. “We have four troopers in Wendover and seven in Tooele.”
Ironically, Sgt. Nelson is also from Green River, Utah and he and Lt. Rapich both graduated from the high school there in 1988, Claiming he has “the best job in the world,” Lt. Rapich said he has no intention of leaving Tooele County. “I expect that both my sons will graduate from Tooele High School,” he said. “My wife, our sons and I all love this area.”
And even though Green River is about 200 miles away, Rapich smiles as he adds that even his dad has transferred to the Salt Lake City area.
“My dad is now a captain and serves as head of the Utah Police Academy in Salt Lake City,” Rapich said.
To qualify for the Utah Police Academy, a potential law enforcement official must have a four-year college degree. The academy then puts each cadet through an intensive 18-week training.
Lt. Rapich said his dad also likes this area of the state — so staying in Tooele County is almost a certainty for the new head of the Tooele UHP office.