Salt Lake City Leaders Announce Commission On Racial Equity In Policing

Jun 25, 2020, 1:54 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Salt Lake City leaders on Thursday announced the creation of a new commission that will make recommendations to the mayor and city council on matters of policy, budget, and the culture of policing.

Mayor Erin Mendenhall and the Salt Lake City Council made the announcement at the International Peace Gardens.

The core members of the Commission on Racial Equity in Policing will include Rev. France Davis, pastor emeritus of the Calvary Baptist Church; Aden Batar, Director of Migration and Refugee Services for Catholic Community Services; Verona Sagato-Mauga, Executive Director of Renew Wellness & Recovery; Darlene McDonald, chair of the Utah Black Roundtable; Dr. Moises Prospero of iChamps and a direct practitioner in the area of criminal, juvenile & social justice; and Nicole Salazar-Hall, attorney and current Salt Lake City Human Rights Commissioner.

Mendenhall said the commission will advise city leaders “even when what they’re telling us may be hard to hear and may be even harder to change.”

“I truly believe this commission can result in real and positive change to the way that our police department functions — as an institution and a figure in our community, and also be an example to cities and police departments across the nation,” she said.

The core council will identify additional people to serve on the commission to ensure it includes a broad mix of experience and backgrounds, according to a statement from the city.

“I firmly believe that we now have a chance to move forward in this unprecedented journey toward equity,” Council Chair Chris Wharton said. “The commission has the support and respect of the City Council, and I invite all members of the community to step forward together with us in this work for equity.”

The group will be asked to provide a monthly or bi-monthly update to the council and the mayor, which may include policy recommendations that can be implemented in the short term. The commission will also be asked to provide a final report that includes a compendium of policy recommendations, budget recommendations, and culture and environment recommendations to be implemented by the Salt Lake City Police Department.

“Once the protests end and the streets become quiet, it is imperative that we not lose focus,” said commission member Darlene McDonald. “We must redefine a new normal in policing. The Commission on Racial Equity in Policing is a first step. As Chair of the Utah Black Roundtable, I’m grateful to be included in this process.”

“… Your work is essential to our city’s future but to our people today, too,” Mendenhall said at the Thursday press conference. “Thank you for your generosity, your skills, and your willingness that you bring to this work, and I thank you for the future generations of Salt Lake City residents and  everyone else who will learn from the work that you will produce for us.”

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Salt Lake City Leaders Announce Commission On Racial Equity In Policing