Rexburg has a new sheriff in town: Josh Rhodes.
He spent the last decade preparing to take on the mantle of police chief since joining the Rexburg Police Department in 2010.
During his childhood in Ashton, Idaho, Rhodes admired the local police officers. One officer in particular piqued Rhodes’ interest — Junior Gonzalez, who was a family friend.
This was where Rhodes developed his interest in being a future policeman.
“He always would try to talk me out of it and say, ‘You don’t want to,‘” Rhodes said. “I didn’t really think much about it until I had gotten accepted to a grad program in Wisconsin. I needed a job right away and ended up getting hired on with the sheriff’s department. I didn’t realize how much I was going to love it. I ultimately got sucked in, and it became something I really loved doing.”
Rhodes later learned his grandfather William Eugene Rhodes served as chief of police of the Rigby police department.
One of the highlights of Rhodes’s career has been working on the Lori Daybell case.
“As a department, that’s probably one of the biggest rewarding cases,” Rhodes said. “It’s a horrible circumstance, but as far as effort put into overcoming a major obstacle with major crime and meandering, neighboring jurisdictions, they’ve all come together and worked well. I think that shows a great reward to our department by showing the effort that was put in by everyone involved.”
Another highlight of Rhodes’s career was working as a canine officer. He worked with three different canine partners over the years: Truck, Piper and Drax. Drax was used for drug detection and bite work.
“I loved having that responsibility and building that bond with the dog,” Rhodes said. “It was always exciting to me to be able to respond to calls and have that extra partner with me to do our job on a day-to-day basis.”
During his decade-long career, Rhodes curated many role models.
“I’ve had a lot of great role models in my personal life but also here at the department at each phase of my career,” Rhodes said. “I’ve tried to pull things I can learn from all the leaders I’ve had. In my personal life, I’ve had a lot of leaders in church organizations — but most importantly — my family. This job couldn’t be done without wives.”
What’s next for Rexburg?
Rhodes’ first priority as police chief will be the safety of schools at all levels — elementary, high school and university.
“My main priority with current events right now is to coordinate with the school district and making sure our department and the school district are on the same page to make sure that we’re providing every opportunity for safety,” Rhodes said. “And not only with the school district, but also with BYU-Idaho to coordinate with their security and make sure we are working closely with them. I don’t feel like we’re doing anything bad or wrong, but I want to ask, ‘What can we do better? What can we do to improve the safety?’”
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly named Rhodes’ grandfather as E.J. Harrop.