Rosie Rivera becomes first woman elected to serve as Salt Lake County Sheriff

Posted at 3:00 PM, Aug 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-13 00:07:17-04

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah -- Rosie Rivera became the first woman elected to serve as Salt Lake County Sheriff after she won a special election Saturday.

Rivera, who is also the first Latina elected to this position, was chosen Saturday by the Salt Lake County Democratic Party Central Committee.

"We did make history today," Rivera said of the win.

The special election was held to fill the vacancy created by Jim Winder, who stepped down as sheriff to accept a job as Chief of Police in Moab. 

Rivera contended with Steve Anjewierden, Ken Hansen, Levi Hughes and Fred Ross in the election, and after the first round of voting she secured 38 percent of the 271 votes, with Anjewierden following at 29 percent.

Rivera defeated Anjewierden in the second round of voting, which was solely between the two final candidates, to become Salt Lake County Sheriff.

Rivera says she hopes to coordinate with local leaders on various issues, like the current problems in Salt Lake City's Rio Grande district.

“I also want to work with the leaders of, you know, the county council, the state legislature because there are many, many things that we have to deal with," Rivera said. "Right now it is jail beds and the homeless, but next week it could be something else... The violent crime has shot up in the last couple of weeks: We together need to address it, it can’t just be a law enforcement problem."

Rivera said she also wants to focus on transparency and engaging with the community so citizens "know the issues we're dealing with and they become a part of our solutions. It's all about problem solving to keep everyone safe."

According to a candidate biography provided ahead of the election, Rivera has been a police officer for 24 years and previously served as the Unified Police Department's Deputy Chief before becoming Chief of Police Services in Riverton City.

Rivera has also worked for Weber State College, Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office and the Taylorsville Police Department during her career. During that time she has worked assignments in patrol, community policing, gang investigations, media relations and watch command as well as serving as a public information officer and an Executive Lieutenant.

Watch Fox 13 News at Five Saturday for more on this story and for an interview with Rivera.