Community celebrates Kirby

Curtis “Festus” Faddis hugs the City of Evanston’s most recent retiree, former police chief Jon Kirby, as Kirby and Lt. Mike Vranish share a laugh during Kirby’s retirement party on Friday, June 18, at the Evanston Roundhouse. (HERALD PHOTO/Kayne Pyatt)

Nearly 200 friends, coworkers, and community members attended an open house for recently-retired Evanston Police Chief Jon Kirby on Friday, June 18, at the Evanston Roundhouse. The city provided lunch and an opportunity to thank Kirby for his 35 years of service in law enforcement.

Among those attending were Kirby’s family, fellow police officers, Uinta County Sheriff Doug Matthews and his deputies, Evanston Mayor Kent Williams, Evanston City Council members, State Sen. Wendy Schuler, former mayor Joy Bell; and former EPD chief Mitch Allmaras, who traveled from Colorado to attend. 

Mayor Williams asked city council member Mikal Welling to say a prayer and then invited guests to form a line for the lunch buffet. After the delicious lunch, provided by Dang Good BBQ, Williams addressed the crowd.

“I first met Jon when he worked with the ambulance service. He is the kind of person that makes you feel safe and protected,” Williams said. “I appreciate the foresight that former mayor Joy Bell and that city council had to appoint Jon as Chief of police. I have appreciated the relationship I have had with him and with the police department. I want to thank Jon and his family, who have always been supportive of him.”

Williams presented Kirby with a plaque commemorating his service to the community. Sheriff Doug Matthews also presented Kirby with a commemorative plaque from the Uinta County Sheriff’s department. Lt. Ken Pearson and all of the EPD officers presented Kirby with a Wilson AR-15 engraved with his name and dates of law enforcement service. A final gift of a specially designed and engraved Glock 48 handgun was given to Kirby by Evanston’s Nick Arnold, owner of Straight Jacket Armory of Evanston.

“I have worked for the EPD for 20 years and it was Jon who appointed me as lieutenant,” EPD Lt. Mike Vranish said. “I want to personally thank him for being a wonderful chief and role model.”

Local resident Don Barnhardt addressed the crowd.

“I have loved police officers since I was 6 years old. [I was] lost, and an officer fed me doughnuts to keep me telling him stories,” Barnhardt said. “I want to thank this police department and tell them how much they are appreciated. There are no better people than cops who give you doughnuts just for telling stories. These local officers give a lot to the community and speaking for the public, I want to say, we are grateful. Thank you, Jon.”

Many lingered after the celebration to personally thank Jon and receive one of his famous bear hugs. 

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