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.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

A smiling boy...

Karah Brackin

Baseball community comes together to play in honor of player lost to cancer

This weekend in South Jordan, there is a bigger reason dozens of baseball players are returning to the diamond and lacing their cleats to take the field. The baseball community is coming together to play in memory of one of their own.

1 day ago

Salt Lake County Council approves $9 million for lap pool in South Jordan...

Ashley Moser

County vouncil approves $9 million for lap pool in South Jordan

A major expansion project is coming to the South Jordan Fitness and Aquatics Center. It is welcome news to local swimmers who have been advocating for the expansion since the Marv Jensen Recreation center closed in 2019.

1 day ago

Two women hug in front of photo of man killed...

Gabrielle Shiozawa, KSL.com

‘It’s personal’: Jury finds Magna man guilty of 2 murders

Brenda Chambers feels justice was granted Friday for her son, Stevan Chambers, when a 3rd District Court jury found Brandon Beau Warren, 31, guilty on two counts of murder, both first-degree felonies.

1 day ago

gun on a desk, magazine out, with bullets...

Annie Knox and Daniella Rivera, KSL TV

Gun deaths hit record high in the US; most in Utah are suicides  

Gun deaths in the United States hit a record high in the first year of the pandemic. Now a new report shows they climbed even higher in 2021.  

1 day ago

Construction map...

Katija Stjepovic

Bridge work in Summit County will cause delays until July 4

The Utah Department of Transportation has started work on the first phase of the US-40 flyover bridge in Summit County.

1 day ago

Triple dome home...

Ladd Egan

BYU students’ Triple Dome Home is unexpected stop along parade of homes

This year’s Utah Valley Parade of Homes features an unexpected stop among the 31 homes: the campus of Brigham Young University.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Portrait of happy boy playing and splashing water in the swimming pool...

Get Out Pass

Family Fun Activities in Utah You Have to Try This Summer

These family fun activities will entertain you all summer, so if you ever feel stuck in a rut wondering what to do, refer to this guide!

Woman IT specialist in elegant suit working on notebook computer in data center next to server rack...

Les Olson

Your Complete Guide to Outsourcing IT Services

This guide covers everything you need to know about the different benefits of outsourcing IT services to meet your small business needs.

diverse group of friends dance outside under string lights...

Lighting Design

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Outdoor Lighting

Read for the most frequently asked questions about outdoor lighting to help narrow the search for your home.

Stack of old laptops with dark background...

PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...

BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.

Close up of an offset printing machine during production...

Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.

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