OGDEN -- Mike Ashment's rise through the ranks to the top of the Ogden Police Department was something he never even dreamed of when he started on the beat 26 years ago.
On Tuesday, Ashment, 48, became Ogden's newest chief of police, with city officials announcing the choice at the city council meeting. But the thought of becoming a high-ranking police officer, even after he'd been on the force for quite a while, didn't enter his mind until many years after he first patrolled the city.
Ashment was born in Ogden and lived here until he was 8, when he and his family moved to North Ogden.
He graduated from Weber High School in 1982 and attended Weber State University, earning a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.
He began working with the OPD in 1986 and earned a master's degree in organizational management from the University of Phoenix in 2000.
"I started out going to Weber State probably like a lot of other people did," Ashment said, "not exactly sure what they wanted to do or where they wanted to be at the end of it."
Ashment had started out working toward a marketing degree but changed his course after a neighbor who worked for the OPD invited him on a ride-along.
"I had so much fun and thought it was such an interesting line of work," Ashment said, "so I decided to go ahead and change my major."
It wasn't until Ashment began working on his master's degree that he began to think about moving up within the department.
"After about 10 years into my career, I did a stint for four years as detective sergeant," he said. "At that point, I decided I wanted to continue on up the food chain, so I started looking at a master's degree."
While pursuing his degree, Ashment was promoted to lieutenant. He spent four years as the commander of the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force.
"That experience itself is somewhat like running a smaller police department," Ashment said.
He said he has never really considered working for another department.
"I never had a desire to go work for another police department, just to become the chief there," he said. "I really don't consider myself a title kind of a guy. I've just had a great career at the OPD, and when the opportunity presented itself, this was the next logical step."
As he begins to take that step, Ashment says he doesn't plan any sweeping changes in the department, but he sees some things that can be improved.
Modern technology has helped police forces tremendously, but he doesn't want his department to forget about the more traditional side of policework.
"We need to balance our technology side with the traditional street-cop side of developing sources and being out in the community, and getting information that way," he said.
Ashment said he's developing specific goals for the department, but broadly speaking, he wants the department to work as a team and reduce crime.
"We would be unrealistic if we ever got to a point where there is no crime," he said. "But we are certainly going to do everything we can to keep bringing crime levels down."
Ashment lives in Huntsville. He has been married for 19 years to his wife, Terri; they have a 15-year-old daughter, Lindsey, and a 10-year-old son, Landon.
Before his promotion to chief, Ashment commanded the department's investigations bureau.