Riverton City Police Department Begins First Day Of Patrols
RIVERTON, Utah – It became official Monday at the stroke of midnight.
Riverton City Police officers have hit the streets patrolling the community since breaking away from the Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake.
Residents said they are, for the most part, accepting of the switch. However, there are some concerns.
“What kind of officers are they getting?” asked Daniel Velarde, who’s been a Riverton resident for more than six year. “Are they paying more than other departments? Is that incentive that would bring better officers to Riverton or not?”
RCPD Chief Don Hutson, hired six months ago to build the department from the ground up, came from the Unified Police Department. He spoke about his new lineup and the the experience the officers bring to the city.
“We have a literally very deep bench when it comes to officers — a vast amount of experience,” he said “I’ve been around law enforcement for 30 years and there is not one specialty job in law enforcement that was not represented on that stage.”
With 35 officers, including the chief, hired for the new department, there are about 10 more officers than there were under the Unified Police Department umbrella. The department also has good relationships with surrounding cities and law enforcement agencies and has already formed SWAT and collision teams to better serve the community.
“I honestly believe the best model for Riverton moving forward is to have their own police department,” Hutson said. “The reason I believe that is it can be a customized police department focused 100 percent on the city of Riverton.
The chief said it is more cost-efficient for Riverton to have its own police department. Officer pay is also set to be competitive with the local market. Starting salaries range roughly $21 to $35 an hour.
He added that, with more officers, the community will see a 40% – 60% increase in patrol.
“I hardly ever saw Unified Police Department, I can tell you that much,” Velarde said. “But I don’t necessarily know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.”
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