FBI agent will retire to head Church security
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Richard T. Bretzing, 49, special agent in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles office, will become managing director of the Church's Security Department in July, after he retires from the FBI. Bretzing is a 27-year veteran with the bureau and headed the FBI's extensive security at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. He previously was special agent in charge of the FBI's Buffalo, N.Y., office, and was special agent in charge of the criminal division of the New York City FBI office. He's a counselor in the Newbury Park California Stake presidency and has served as a bishop.
In his new appointment, Bretzing will succeed Ronald D. Francis, who has been acting managing director since the death in January 1987 of J. Martell Bird, then managing director of the security department.
"I feel very honored they would consider me for this position," Bretzing said in a telephone interview March 28. "I already had my mind made up that if they wanted me, I would be available.
"I am looking forward to the challenge, and the interesting and rewarding aspects of the new position," he said.
As special agent in charge of the Los Angeles office, Bretzing was spokesman for the FBI, which he described as a "fairly visible" position. "The position where I am going will not be visible at all," he said. "I welcome that. I am looking forward to the role where I can be about the work without being a public spokesman."
He said his new responsibilities will bring significant changes to his family, which has moved frequently during his career. He and his wife, the former Sharon Diane Johnson, are parents of seven children from ages 9 to 27, and have two grandchildren. Two married daughters live in the Salt Lake area, the oldest of whom is employed in the Salt Lake FBI office.
"We are excited about the new position," said Bretzing. "We are looking forward to coming to Salt Lake City, although my wife and I have some very dear friends here in California who will be difficult to leave."
He said: "The Church helped me in my FBI role because of the balance it has given my life. As I have encountered some sadness and some of the activities that might cause one to be depressed or overly concerned, being able to fall back on constant, full activity in the Church for 27 years has given me a very important sense of balance and perspective I consider invaluable."
He said his experience in the bureau has also helped him in the Church. "I have been given many opportunities to be involved in various youth firesides and I have been able to share some of my experiences, at times voicing words of caution and concern."
A native of Salt Lake City, Utah, Bretzing was reared in Phoenix, Ariz., and graduated from Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz. He served briefly in the Phoenix police department, and then joined the FBI in 1960 and became a special agent in 1964. He has had investigative experience in Seattle, Wash., San Francisco, Calif., Phoenix, Ariz., and Detroit, Mich. He was made a supervisor in the bureau's special investigative division in 1972, and served at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. in 1974. Bretzing was promoted to the rank of inspector in 1979. He was in Buffalo in 1979, and in New York City in 1980. He became head of the Los Angeles division in May 1982.