SLC Police Hoping To Hire More Officers Amid Shortage, Spike In Crime
SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake City Police Department is looking to add more officers after dozens left the force over the past year. At the same time, the city has seen an 18% increase in violent crimes and a 25% jump in property crimes.
Last year, 45 SLC officers quit or retired, leaving a big gap in coverage for the city. It’s not hard to see why people don’t want to embark on a career in law enforcement, said Brandon, a KSL viewer.
“There’s no incentive to be a police officer,” he said.
SLC Police Chief Mike Brown said the void in the department means response times are longer than they should be, at an average of 11 minutes and 37 seconds.
He said that should be under 10 minutes.
“We need to hire more officers and number two, we have looked at ways that we can put more officers back in patrol because we need to answer those calls, those 911 calls and those call for service,” Brown said. “That’s paramount.”
The Utah Fraternal Order of Police thinks the problem runs deeper than the national anti-police sentiment. They believe there needs to be more support for officers here in Utah, especially from city leaders during times of crises — like when officers are involved in shootings.
“When that police shooting is justified, they need to be out there talking to the community to explain why,” said the FOP. “To explain why those actions were taken.”
One woman told KSL-TV she was studying to be in law enforcement when the country’s climate toward officers changed. She said she’s no longer interested as an African American woman.
“Why would I want to be looked down on?” she asked. “That sense of pride just vanished.”
Brandon said he appreciates and respects what police do on a daily basis to keep people safe. He doesn’t think a few bad officers should ruin it for everyone.
“I don’t think the sins of a few should be applied to the good they’re doing and the reputations of many,” he said.
Brown said 32 new officers are in the police academy right now, but they won’t be ready to hit the streets for several more months.
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