ISAAC ATENCIO, President
Isaac is a retired Salt Lake City Police officer. He started his career with Salt Lake City Police Department in 1989 and retired at the rank of Deputy Chief in October 2016 after almost 27 years of service. At the time of retirement, Isaac was the Chief over the Investigations Bureau.
Isaac is proud to have worked his way up the ranks by building his resume through various assignments at SLCPD. Isaac worked in Patrol, Vice, Narcotics, Community Action Teams, Solo Motor Squad, Investigations, S.W.A.T., Gang Suppression and Gang Investigations. His goal in working various assignments during the first 15 years of his career, was to gain the knowledge and experience he felt were essential to be a knowledgeable leader.
Isaac promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2004, and served as a Patrol Sergeant. He was later assigned as Sergeant over Community Action Teams and then as Sergeant over Gang Investigations where his Unit was recognized by Utah Gang Association as Gang Unit of the Year as well as SLC Police Chiefs Unit of the Year.
In 2007 Isaac was promoted to Lieutenant where he served as Patrol Watch Commander, Assistant Bureau Commander in Special Operations and Investigations where he was able to continue his work with Gang Suppression and Investigations.
Isaac was appointed to the position of Deputy Chief in January of 2014. He was assigned to Command the Patrol Bureau, later moving to Special Operations and then Investigations.
During his career Isaac was a member of the S.W.A.T. team working as an Operator, Team Leader, Tactical Commander and Commander.
Isaac’s passion throughout his career was in Community Education and Awareness as well as the time he spent working anything to do with Gangs, especially Gang Suppression and Investigations.
In 2008, The SLC Mayors office sent a committee to Orlando Florida to attend the OJJDP Gang Conference. Isaac along with other members of the Mayors Task Force on Gang Crime Reduction attended the conference which outlined a new approach in dealing with Gangs and Gang members that focused on “Best Practices” in the area of Intervention, Prevention and Suppression. Upon return, Isaac was part of the Mayors Task Force and was instrumental in creating a new Gang Initiative for Salt Lake City, in the form of an Intervention/Prevention Program that changed the way SLC dealt with gangs during that time. The program was called I-CAT (Intervention Community Action Teams).
Although retired, Isaac’s passion for the work officers continue to do to Intervene, Prevent and Suppress Gang Crime is his reason to continue to be part of the Utah Gang Investigators Association.
DETECTIVE JERRY VALDEZ, Vice President
Detective Jerry Valdez is a Unified Police Department Officer, and is currently assigned to the Salt Lake Area Gang Project “Metro Gang Unit." He has worked in Law Enforcement since 2008, starting his career in Corrections at the Salt Lake County Jail. While employed at the jail, he was fortunate to have worked in many areas of the jail, including minimum and maximum security as well as the Oxbow Jail. While at Oxbow Jail, Jerry worked in “Programs,” where he was able to continue teaching classes to inmates that he had been teaching since 2009. He was also given an opportunity to oversee the rebuilding of the Salt Lake County Jail's garden program. Jerry was then assigned to the position Jail Security Threat Information/Threat Officer (STIO), which allowed him and his counterpart to be assigned to the Metro Gang Unit; this assignment lasted three years, and required them to work on investigating all of the jail's security threats and gang issues, assisting outside agencies in their investigations and providing County and Unified Officers with Intelligence coming in and out of the Jail.
This experience prompted Jerry to become a Law Enforcement Officer with Unified Police Department, where he worked in the Holladay and Taylorsville areas before returning to the Metro Gang Unit.
Jerry currently serves as Vice President of the Utah Gang Investigators Association.
DETECTIVE BRANDON HARTLEY, Vice President
Detective Hartley has been with the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office since 2011. He started his career in the housing division, spending two years there. He joined the Joint Security Threat Intelligence Committee in 2013 and served on the committee for two years.
In 2013 Officer Hartley joined the Movement/Critical Incident Response Team and served on the team for two years until being transferred to his current assignment as a detective in the security threat intelligence unit for the Salt Lake County Jail. He is also assigned to the Metro Gang Unit part time as a detective.
DEPUTY BRIAN MELARA, Board Member
Deputy Brian Melara, originally from Long Beach, California, moved to Utah as a young child to get away from the gang culture. Once here in Utah, he wanted to get into some type of Law Enforcement environment, and at just 18 years old was hired with the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office in November 2006. B
Brian started his career working as a civilian inside the jail in the processing division. After the hiring freeze was over in 2009, he submitted his application and became a Sheriff Deputy. His experience in corrections over the years has made him invested in learning and teaching about gangs to his fellow colleagues and the public.
Brian transferred to his current assignment (Security Threat Intel Unit) in June of 2016; during that same time he was assigned to the Metro Gang Unit.
DEPUTY KELCIE BAER, Board Member
Deputy Kelcie Baer is a Corrections Officer for the Davis County Sheriff’s Office, currently assigned to the Classification Division. Deputy Baer started at Davis County as a Corrections Clerk in 2010. She then became a Corrections Officer in 2012.
Davis County does not have an official gang task force like other departments, and when she was assigned to the Classification Division Deputy Baer took it upon herself to learn all she could about gang behaviors and current issues. By doing this, Deputy Baer has made contacts throughout Northern Utah and these contacts have enabled her to gain knowledge to help keep her department abreast on current gang trends.
Deputy Baer has had the opportunity to teach gang classes for the Weber State Police Academy and the Utah Sheriff’s Association. She keeps the Davis Corrections Division informed of all current gang activity by conducting annual training updates.
Deputy Baer is married to a Law Enforcement officer and has 3 boys.
DETECTIVE ESEKIA "SKEE" AFATASI, Board Member
Detective Esekia “Skee” Afatasi was born and raised in San Francisco, California and moved to Utah in 1994. He has been in law enforcement for 16 years. He began his career in 2002 as a correctional officer at the Salt Lake County Metro Jail, where he worked for more than three years, before becoming a road office for the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office. He worked three years as a patrol officer assigned to the Kearns/Magna area, and worked two years as a detective in the Kearns/Magna COP (Community Oriented Policing) unit.
Detective Afatasi was a member of the Metro Gang Unit from June, 2011 through December, 2017. He has taught several gang classes across the state and even across the country. He specializes in Deciphering Graffiti, Juggalos, Bloods, Nortenos, and Crip gangs. He also specializes in Hip Hop Music and Slang/Gang terminology. Detective Afatasi is certified to testify as a gang expert in court.
Detective Afatasi is now assigned to the Unified Police Department Violent Crimes/Homicide Unit in the Investigations Division. He enjoys educating and teaching people about gangs.
SERGEANT ZACH VAN EMMERIK, Board Member
Sergeant Van Emmerik started his career in law enforcement at the Utah State Prison in 2007. He was originally assigned to Uinta 2, which at the time was the maximum housing unit for gang members. This is where Zach was taught the basics of gangs and developed a great interest in them. Zach then moved on to the UDC Special Operations Unit. Zach eventually made the decision to move to the streets and was hired by the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office. Zach spent time on patrol in the Millcreek and Midvale areas before getting transferred to the Metro Gang Unit in January of 2013.
In May of 2016, Zach was promoted to Sergeant was assigned again to the Midvale area. After a short stint in Midvale, Zach came back to the Metro Gang Unit where he is currently assigned. Zach has been a member of the UPD SWAT team since 2010, and is currently a team leader.