Scott M. Mourtgos

Inducted June 2024

Nominated by Ian Adams, University of South Carolina


Scott Mourtgos is the Deputy Chief of Police for the Salt Lake City Police Department, where he has served for 20 years. Throughout his career, he has held positions in patrol, public order, strategic deployment, and community intelligence as an officer; narcotics and special victims as a detective; patrol, strategic deployment, and professional standards as a sergeant; investigations and support as a lieutenant; and training as a captain. Currently, as Deputy Chief, he oversees patrol, airport, data and crime analysis, and crime reduction operations. He has also served as the agency’s Intelligence Commander. Mourtgos is a member of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, a National Institute of Justice LEADS Scholar, a member of the Police Executive Research Forum’s Research Advisory Board, and a graduate of the FBI National Academy. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Weber State University, a Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology from the University of North Dakota, a Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice Education from the University of Virginia, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Utah.

Evidence-Based Research and Practice:

Deputy Chief Mourtgos is recognized for his long-standing commitment to science, research, and evidence-based policing, reflected in his practices and extensive publications. In his role as Deputy Chief, Mourtgos has been a relentless advocate for applying scientific principles to policing strategies. As noted by Prof. Ian Adams in his nomination letter, “[Mourtgos’s] integration of scientific research with practical application has not only advanced the field of law enforcement but also made a lasting impact on community safety and policing standards.” Cynthia Lum, Director of the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy, also adds that “Deputy Chief Mourtgos is a rare individual who has meshed his practitioner life with his academic one, seamlessly integrating the two intellectually and professionally. His has a discerning eye and a critical approach that benefits both policing research and practice.”

Some examples of his efforts include his restructuring of the Data and Crime Analysis Section of the Salt Lake City Police Department, implementing the evidence-based Stratified Policing approach. In his nomination letter, Adams notes that this had led to remarkable outcomes, with Salt Lake City experiencing the lowest levels of crime in 15 years – a testament to the practical effectiveness of evidence-based methodologies. Under his leadership, certain areas have seen reductions of up to a third in violent and property crimes. Citywide, Salt Lake City has benefited from a 12% reduction in Part I violent crimes and a 14% reduction in Part I property crimes. These achievements demonstrate not only his proficiency in the application of theoretical principles but also his ability to translate them into meaningful, real-world results.

Mourtgos’s interest in evidence- and science-based approaches was initially sparked during his time as a special victims unit detective. Since then, he has also made significant strides in improving his agency’s response to sexual assaults. He developed an evidence-based interviewing approach, revolutionizing the way the Salt Lake City Police Department handles such sensitive cases. His dedication to this cause is evident in his direct involvement in training the entire department, significantly improving victim engagement and investigative outcomes. This work has not only benefited the local community but also served as a model for other law enforcement agencies.

His membership in leading-edge research labs and observatories, including the Police Accountability and Policy Evaluation Research (PAPER) Lab at the University of Utah and the University of South Carolina, the Police Staffing Observatory at Michigan State University, and the Governance and Responsible AI Laboratory (GRAIL) at Purdue University further exemplify his commitment to advancing policing through science. As a National Institute of Justice LEADS Scholar and a member of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) Research Advisory Board, Mourtgos has been influential in shaping national policies and practices in law enforcement.

Statement from Inductee:


Contributions to Grants, Publications, and Projects:

  • Mourtgos, S.M., Adams, I., & Nix, J. (2024). Staffing Levels are the Most Important Factor Influencing Police Response Times. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 18.
  • Mourtgos, S.M., & Adams. (2023). Police Proactivity in an Era of Pandemic and Protest. In M. Deflem (Ed.), Crime and Social Control in Pandemic Times (Sociology of Crime, Law and Deviance, Vol. 28). Emerald Publishing, pp. 207-224.
  • Mourtgos, S.M., Adams, I., & Baty, S. (2022). Challenging the Ordinality of Police Use-of-Force Policy. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 33(2), 119-147.
  • Mourtgos, S.M., Adams, I., & Nix, J. (2022). Elevated police turnover following the summer of George Floyd protests: A synthetic control study. Criminology & Public Policy, 21(1), 9-33.
  • Mourtgos, S.M., Adams, I., & Mastracci, S. (2021). Improving Victim Retention and Police-Victim Interactions in Rape Investigations: A Longitudinal Assessment of a Brief Training. Journal of Criminal Justice, 74, 101-118.
  • Mourtgos, S.M., & Adams. (2021). COVID-19 vaccine program eliminates law enforcement workforce infections: A Bayesian structural time series analysis. Police Practice and Research, 22(5), 1557–1565.
  • Mourtgos, S.M., Adams, I., Nix, J., & Richards, T. (2021). Mandatory Sexual Assault Kit Testing Policies and Arrest Trends: A Natural Experiment. Justice Evaluation Journal, 22(5), 145-162.