Kudos to the Salt Lake Tribune for choosing SLC Police Chief Chris Burbank as the 2011 Utahn of the Year. In a year when Utah produced a top NBA draft pick and a presidential candidate, it would be easy to bow to popular opinion and select someone who is more well-known nationally. However, with their choice, the Tribune has reminded us that we are in dire need of more leaders like Burbank—leaders who engage in thoughtful dialogue with all members of the community, openly listen to all perspectives, accept responsibility for their actions, and who consistently adhere to principle. In a year dominated by spotlight-seeking politicians, deaf to opposing arguments and bent on pushing forward extremist agendas (and I’m talking about politicians on both sides of the party line), Burbank’s leadership is both refreshing and instructive. Even those who disagree with his views would be hard pressed to offer up any legitimate critiques of the skilled way in which he handles difficult and sensitive situations. I would much prefer Burbank to just about any of the political candidates in the upcoming local elections. And, it makes me wonder, could someone like Burbank be successful in politics? First, could someone willing to buck popular opinion and the strong arm of Utah republicans get elected? And, once elected, would someone like Burbank hold to his principles? My heart tells me yes, but my head says no (with regard to both questions).