Man Leading Utah’s Fight Against Drugs Leaving For National Position

Dec 17, 2019, 9:18 PM | Updated: 9:19 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Brian Besser, who has been the Drug Enforcement Agency’s District Agent-In-Charge for Utah over the past four years, announced he will be heading to Washington D.C. with his family for a national position with the DEA.

A goodbye ceremony was held for Besser Tuesday evening in the Capitol Board Room at the Utah State Capitol and several law enforcement officers, politicians and state leaders came to the event to wish Besser well.

“The fact that you came out just to see me off means the world to me,” said Besser once it was his turn to speak.

During Besser’s tenure in the Beehive State, opioid addiction, especially in rural areas, became a national concern.

“The opioid epidemic was probably one of the most critical things I have been involved in just because of the loss of human life and suffering,” said Besser during an interview with KSL reporter Alex Cabrero.

Besser often traveled to those rural communities to speak with local leaders and local law enforcement about what can be done to fight it.

“We as law enforcement have to have a unified approach, a unified effort,” Besser said. “Often, we have too much friction and we have to come together.”

It’s that cooperation many local police chiefs said they will miss in a federal agent.

“When he came in, he said ‘what can I do and how can we accomplish this together?’” said Woods Cross police Chief Chad Soffe. “Most of the time, the federal government is doing their thing and the locals are doing their thing, and we don’t mesh like we have with Brian.”

“I have never worked with a federal partner that has been so engaging, been willing to get involved in local issues, and even speak out and help us on some of those local issues,” said Chief Tom Ross of the Bountiful Police Department. “I have been impressed and I hate to see him go.”

Besser also helped with drug issues in Salt Lake City’s Rio Grande area.

Most recently, he had helped in the fight against vaping with fentanyl-laced cartridges, which Besser said is a fight Utah should continue after he’s gone because it’s killing people.

“With the type of growth this state is experiencing, we have to stay ahead of the train. It’s just that important,” Besser said.

Besser starts his new job with the DEA in Washington D.C. next month.

Even though he is originally from New York, Besser said there was something special about Utah and he will miss the people.

“Out of all the moves I have had in 30 years, this is the first time I feel like I’m leaving home again,” Besser said. “It’s hard.”

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Collin Leonard, KSL.com

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Man Leading Utah’s Fight Against Drugs Leaving For National Position