The Tooele City Police Department has a new public face.
Cpl. Colbey Bentley, with over six years experience with the Tooele City Police Department, recently took on the responsibility of public information and social media for the department.
“I take care of all of our media relations; anything that is going to be released to the press,” he said. “I’m also over Instagram and Facebook and anything social media related for the department…We have Shop with a Cop coming up, so there’s also a lot of fundraising that goes into that, and a lot of calling and asking for donations.”
Bentley enjoys public relation work, because it challenges him.
“Everyone has their specialty at the police department,” Bentley said. “There are so many different things… I had taken a public speaking class in college and I loved it. The butterflies I get before an interview are fun. I enjoy that part of being a little nervous, but having something to be nervous about and having something to improve on, like, ‘I didn’t like what I did in that interview. I can change it up next time.’ It’s fun to do a different form of policing.”
Also as part of his duties, Bentley will be in charge of the “Second Step” program, a new curriculum for school-aged children teaching them to stay away from drugs and alcohol. He will also be available for other community-related events and to solve issues that arise.
“I will be the person to help the community with whatever they need,” Bentley said.
Prior to working at his current position, Bentley worked for three years on patrol.
“Patrol is by far the toughest,” he said. “There are long hours and rotating schedules.”
Bentley also worked as school resource officer at Blue Peak, Clarke N. Johnsen, and Tooele High School. He installed car seats as a child passenger safety technician and assisted the previous public information officer.
Bentley has a bachelor’s degree from Utah Valley University in criminology.
Prior to becoming a police officer, he worked at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City as a security guard.
“I got to meet a lot of celebrities and sports teams,” Bentley said. “It was really cool.”
Bentley knew since he was in high school that he wanted to be a police officer .
“Back in high school, I remember thinking, ‘I’ve got to figure out what I want to do with my life’, and I knew for me being in an office building wasn’t something that I thought I was going to be able to do,” Bentley said. “I was dating a girl at the time whose brother was a highway patrolman and I thought it was really cool and I could do that. The more I thought about it, the more I liked it. That was kind of my direction.”
Bentley’s heart was set on becoming a police officer after riots broke out in Ferguson, Missouri the day after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer in 2014.
“All of that had happened and I just remember thinking that I knew there were so many good cops out there and I felt like I could go out there and I could give people from all different ethnicities a chance to go, ‘Hey, there is a good cop out there. I know that one. I had a good experience, even if it wasn’t for the best reason we had contact, they were good to me,’” Bentley said. “I wanted to go into it with the mentality of giving everyone a good experience, even if I was there for a negative reason… That was the defining thing that pushed me towards that.”
Bentley has enjoyed his time as an officer and enjoys helping people.
“There’s so much fulfillment,” he said. Being there for somebody’s worst moment in their life and trying to make it better is so fulfilling.”
Being an officer comes with a host of challenges, including mental health struggles, Bentley said.
“You see a lot of really terrible things,” he explained. “What people don’t see are the issues that can cause later behind closed doors…There are things you can’t get out of your mind and you have trouble sleeping.”
Bentley wants to destigmatize the idea of officers seeking therapy.
“I had to talk to a therapist and I knew I needed help beyond what I could do,” he said, recalling his personal experience. “I met with a therapist and it changed so many things around. It was really cool.”
Being an officer also comes with challenges seeing family, Bentley said.
“You’re missing holidays, birthdays, and all of these different things,” he explained. “It weighs on you over time.”
Bentley works to avoid becoming cynical, as a result of his job.
“You see the worst all day every day,” he said. “You know there’s good out there, but you don’t see it anymore, so trying not to become cynical is a really big thing…Finding a way to work yourself out of that rut is hard.”
Bentley wants the public to know he, along with many other officers, hate giving tickets.
“I’ve had six tickets before,” he said. “I know how it feels each time you get a ticket. It sucks. It’s the absolute worst. If I can avoid giving a ticket and have an educational moment with that person, I’ll do that.”
Bentley also wants the public to know that officers are human too.
“We don’t do it for the pay,” Bentley said. “We do it to know we helped someone in their worst moment, and I hope people can see that. Just like everyone else, cops have bad days. Maybe we just came from a call where we had to deal with a deceased person or see something really terrible, and people wonder why we are so mean that day. We always do our best to be as nice as we can, but I wish people could see some of those moments where we are like, ‘Holy crap, I just saw the worst of the worst. How do I go to this next call and be okay?’”
In his free time, Bentley enjoys spending time with his fiancée and daughter, along with going to the movies, going out to eat, and doughnuts.
“Some cops hide it and won’t eat doughnuts, but I will gladly eat a pink, sprinkled doughnut,” Bentley said laughing.
Bentley also enjoys attending sporting events.
His motto is “People Matter”.
The world would be a better place if people avoided judging others and instead served, Bentley said.
“I don’t know what someone else’s life has been like or what struggles they’ve had to go through,” he explained.