In the coming years, policing in Salt Lake County might look a little different. Sheriff Rosie Rivera officially stated her intention to depart the Unified Police Department during the board meeting on Thursday morning. Her decision was made as a result of new legislation.
Governor Cox ratified House Bill 327 on Tuesday. According to Marcus Stevenson, UPD board chair and mayor of Midvale City, “What this law means just on the surface level is that this is going to remove the Sheriff and force UPD communities go back to the drawing board about how we want to view policing in our communities.
Rep. Jordan Teuscher, R-South, is the bill’s sponsor. According to Jordan, the law addresses difficulties with double taxation and the conflict of interest that arises when a county sheriff also serves as the CEO of a police organization. Yet according to Mayor Stevenson, this legislation places the department in a difficult position.
According to Stevenson, this will have a significant impact on our communities. “This is raising issues with our cops and citizens, and to me, it just seems like a major overreach from the state, sadly,” said one neighbor.
The Salt Lake County Sheriff’s office has until July 2025 to secede from UPD, according to the passed legislation. To give them time to make sure everything goes properly for cops and the public, the UPD board, however, said they want that to happen by July 2024.
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“My intention was to give Salt Lake County notice that it intended to leave the Unified Police Department as of December 31, 2024. however, after hearing what you have to say today, “Sheriff Rivera made the statement Thursday morning at the UPD board meeting. “Since we want to cooperate with you, we might move the deadline to July 2024 if that would be more convenient for you”.
The increase in openness and empowerment of the sheriff and local communities, according to Rep. Teuscher, are the objectives of his bill. “Now that the county sheriff has her own officers to police the entire county and make sure the county is safe and achieves her priorities and objectives, we’ll have more overlap. We’ll have the chance to make sure that people can access the policing services they desire.
Throughout the ensuing months and years, questions regarding the reorganization will need to be resolved.
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“There’s a big question: Would the county council participate? If they can’t, it has a lot of implications for the townships. If there are no townships engaged, only the three remaining cities remain; is it then financially feasible for the three cities? Mayor Stevenson outlined.
In addition to Salt Lake County, UPD currently provides services to the communities of Midvale, Millcreek, Holladay, Kearns, Magna, Copperton, White City, and Brighton. Mayor Stevenson stated that they aim to hear from every municipality by July of this year on their future policing plans in order to decide how the new UPD structure would be organized.
Yet, the main point that authorities want to make is that law enforcement, which is responsible for keeping people safe, won’t disappear. Police will still exist; they will simply be slightly differently arranged.
“Policing in communities will continue in the next two years, no matter what the new structure looks like or what various communities decide to do. Every resident needs to be aware that there will be public safety, said Stevenson”.