Former GJPD chief will teach police work at Mesa State

Bill Gardner

Former Grand Junction Police Chief Bill Gardner has ended a search for police chief jobs in other states to teach at the police officer training academy at Mesa State College.

Gardner’s first day with the Peace Officer Standards and Training — or POST — program will be Aug. 15. He will earn $50,000 a year and sign a one-year contract that may be renewed. Mesa State spokeswoman Dana Nunn said a yearlong contract is standard for most first-year POST instructors.

Gardner, 61, announced his retirement from the Grand Junction Police Department in July after more than three years as chief. Since then, he has interviewed for police chief positions in Bozeman, Mont., and Redmond, Wash. Gardner said he recused himself as a “top candidate at a department in a major metro area” to take the POST job.

“If I had known this was available, I probably wouldn’t have applied for other positions,” Gardner said. “This is a dream come true for my family.”

Gardner moved to Colorado in 1968 and has been in the state ever since. He grew up all over the world but chose Colorado as his home, he said.

Gardner said it’s a good time in his career to make the transition from an administrative post to a teaching role. He taught three- to five-day training seminars for the Colorado State Patrol and other agencies, he said, and taught criminal justice as an adjunct professor at Mesa State.

The experiences Gardner had during 33 years in law enforcement make him an ideal faculty hire, Mesa State President Tim Foster said.

“He brings with him a wealth of real-world knowledge that should greatly benefit our students,” Foster said in a news release.

Ethics, driving and arrest-control tactics are all topics Gardner hopes to teach POST students.

“There’s some great staff here. I hope to join them and make my mark,” he said.


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