SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) He spent two decades investigating criminals and crime. Now he spends his time teaching the next generation of law officers. We learn how Rich Montanez went from investigator to instructor in this week's Behind the Badge report.
"You will need your weapon and gun belt that day because we will be doing a lot of dry firing on that day." Rich Montanez is a teacher and the program coordinator for the Salt Lake Community College Law Enforcement Academy. "Make sure you get that report in on time." The former UHP Trooper and Investigator who retired after two decades of work - had an exciting career. "I liked helping people. I liked making sure people were safe. And I liked solving crimes. That was a big interest for me - solving crimes." And he did a lot of that. Through his job at UHP - he worked with several task forces like FBI violent crimes, fugitive apprehension, the Metro Gang Unit, Homeland Security, and the Governor's Detail. "I wasn't just in one area or one unit - I had the opportunity to move around quit a bit - so my time went by fast. And I gained a lot of knowledge moving from department to department." And the 58-year-old says a lot of his work involved long hours and long days of investigating. "There's a lot of leg work you have to do." "It's not as glamorous as it looks like on TV." And sometimes it was rather dangerous. "As we pulled into the alley way we got shot at. We took probably four or five rounds in the vehicle." "The bullet landed probably an inch above my head."
It was a scary moment - where he says his training took over. "We ended up pulling our weapons and returning fire and I don't remember pulling my weapon - and returning fire - it happened from training." "They always say train and train and train - cause that is where you're going to react. And that is exactly what happened." And now he is training the next generation of law officers.
The veteran officer - who took down gang members and solved murder cases - says teaching the new recruits is the most satisfying job he has every had. "We want to make them smarter, brighter and safer than we were." "Not only are we training them and giving them the best experience we can - we are mentoring them at the same time."
Montanez also served as commissioner of the athletic boxing commission in Utah for sixteen years. Today he and his wife are certified judges for boxing and MMA.
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