Highlight: New POST Director John McCombs

John McCombs is the new director of Utah Valley University’s Peace Officer Standard and Training Program.

John McCombs is the new director of Utah Valley University’s Peace Officer Standard and Training Program. He was born in Texas and grew up in Montana, moving to Utah as an adult. He graduated from Ricks College as a paramedic and then moved to begin work at the Davis County Sheriff's Office as a medic. From there, he spent 19 years working with the City of Orem’s Public Safety Department, mostly as a police officer.

His education and experience don’t stop there. “I earned my bachelor’s degree from UVU in public service management,” McCombs explains. “Currently, I’m working towards a masters degree in public safety, also from UVU.”

McCombs’s dedication to continual learning is a huge part of what made him such an ideal candidate for his appointment as Director of POST. He is already thoroughly enjoying teaching and interacting with students. 

“It’s really fun to be with students who are excited and have a vision of what to expect, but no interaction that’s colored them yet. They’re essentially a fresh canvas, ready to be molded. It’s more than an opportunity to teach, it’s a chance to mentor and shape young minds,” McCombs says.

John McCombs speaks at graduation

His vision for the future of the POST program at UVU focuses on building relationship skills in students and helping to teach de-escalation principles. He is also focused on community oriented policing, teaching students how to apply the principles of working with the community in their careers.

“When you can develop a relationship with someone quickly, you can feel empathy for them. My mantra is to teach what is best regarding de-escalation techniques and appropriate use of force,” McCombs says. “I’m trying to show them my vision of community oriented policing and what that looks like for a patrol officer on a daily basis. A lot of it involves getting out of your car and talking to people; moving away from the old traditional model of policing.”

McCombs has only encouragement to offer those who are considering the POST program at UVU. “People talk about being a force for change. I think there’s no better way to do that than by bringing a different perspective to law enforcement. Everyone here wants to save the worldit’s what brings a lot of people into our program. We need people from every walk of life to help make sure we develop a well-rounded department.”

McCombs has plans to improve the UVU Peace Officer Standard and Training Program during his time as Director. Under his jurisdiction, those who receive their training will have the opportunity to move forward and serve their community with compassion and empathy.