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NAACP, Utah Law Enforcement Work Together On Legislative Reforms

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The NAACP Salt Lake branch and law enforcement leaders said they will work together to pass critical legislative reforms addressing race.

Utah will be the first state to come to the table and address the mandates put out by the national NAACP, according to Jeanetta Williams, president of the NAACP Salt Lake Branch.

The civil rights organization and Utah Fraternal Order of Police will focus on issues of systemic racism and excessive force.

At the same time, one of Utah’s senators will work on creating bills to address race issues that the NAACP deems critical for all communities.

“The NAACP has had a long working relationship with law enforcement here in Utah, and we continue those efforts,” said Williams.

Williams said she will work closely with state Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, to address these issues in Utah.

“We have waited too long, and we need to put pencil to paper and act,” she said. “We must act as though our lives depended on this legislation.”

Even before the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the NAACP started a social movement called #WeAreDoneDying. The national headquarters created legislative mandates for every state in the country.

Williams said Utah is the first state to start working on the national call for action.

Thatcher will start working on three bills.

“When the NAACP asks you to support them, the only acceptable answer is yes,” said Thatcher.

The NAACP has called for state, local, and federal reforms that impose strict police accountability, limit the use of force, eliminate racial profiling, and demilitarize law enforcement. They also called for better tracking and reporting of data, and assurances of proper screening, education, and training of all officers.

“They specifically called out issues, and asked for our support,” said Thatcher. “On these three issues, I am not a leader. I am listening, I am hearing, and I am following.”

Another priority in Utah is to push for more diversity in law enforcement recruitment.

Williams also urged people that when the protests are over, it’s important to be counted in the census and to vote in November.

“So, let’s get to work,” said Williams.

Thatcher said he will get to work on the bills to address those mandates as early as next week.

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