Lawmaker proposes bill to help solve law enforcement ‘crisis’

Oct 13, 2021, 7:12 PM | Updated: Oct 14, 2021, 5:33 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Matt Gwynn says fewer people want a career in law enforcment and more officers are looking to get out.

He says it’s a big problem that ultimately affects their ability to respond to calls and emergencies statewide.

Few people would question that the job of a law enforcement officer is tough and often dangerous.

Gwynn says fewer people nowadays, are willing to take those risks.

“Attrition has been a problem, and recruitment has been a problem, and collectively they create a crisis — and I don’t use that term lightly,” Gwynn said.

Roy Police Chief Matt Gwynn is also a Utah House representative. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

As a lawmaker and the Roy Police Chief, Gwynn sees the issues first-hand.

Through protests after the death of George Floyd in 2020 and the death of Michael Brown in 2015, he says public perception of law enforcement has changed.

But the problem that he says goes back to 2011 happened right here in Utah.

“I don’t think anybody, even those who voted in support of that bill, could have realized the problem that we’re seeing now,” he said.

Gwynn is referring to a bill that increased the number of years required for retirement to 25 years instead of 20 and also added a cooling-off year before retirees could return to public service.

“Prior to 2011, people who wanted to become police officers were generally paying for themselves, sponsoring themselves through the police academy,” Gwynn told KSL TV.

Gwynn says now all academy cadets are sponsored by hiring departments and more officers are leaving the job early.

According to a survey of officers in Utah, 65% are considering a change of career, while around 45% say they wouldn’t recommend a career in law enforcement to a friend or family member.

He calls the trend frustrating and says it’s worse for smaller departments, who often lose officers they trained, to higher-paying departments in the Salt Lake Valley.

“We have to prioritize needs over wants,” Gwynn said. “And this is something that I hope is becoming a bigger priority this year.”

Gwynn believes more lawmakers recognize the problem today, and that his new bill to essentially roll back much of those changes made in 2011 now has a better chance.

He said it could cost around $16 million to make those changes, but the bill already has unanimous support from the interim criminal justice and law committee.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Axel Thomas Peterson and his father Matthew Peterson placing flags on veteran graves at the Larkin ...

Kiersten Nunez

Honoring Veterans: 3,000 flags placed by youth volunteers

In a heartfelt tribute to the men and women who have served the country, more than 200 youth volunteers from around the Salt Lake Valley gathered to honor military veterans ahead of Memorial Day.

9 hours ago

Joan Eccles and her mother were gifted matching engraved charms. Once lost, Eccles has found the mi...

Andrew Adams

St. George family believes they found long lost charm on eBay

A St. George woman was reunited with a lost family charm in an unexpected place on the internet.

10 hours ago

A yearling bull moose was found in a neighborhood in the foothills of Ogden. (Courtesy: Crey Maxey)...

Carlysle Price

Moose found on homeowner’s porch, what to do if this happens to you

A yearling bull moose was found on a homeowner's front porch Thursday and was safely relocated by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

12 hours ago

The male driver of a silver sedan who police believe had their car stolen by the man accused of kil...

Michael Houck and Lauren Steinbrecher, KSL TV

Police searching for man targeted by suspect in Sgt. Bill Hooser’s death

Police are looking for a man whose car was attempted to be stolen at a gas station by the man accused of killing Sgt. Bill Hooser.

12 hours ago

The Audi after it was hit by an SUV on May 12....

Carlysle Price

Man facing six charges after car accident that injured two

A man was charged Thursday in connection to a car accident on May 12 that injured two.

13 hours ago

A basketball hoop at the Adaptive Arena in Bluffdale, which is a gym made for kids with some disabi...

Alex Cabrero

Get In The Games: Adaptive Arena welcomes kids with disabilities to play sports

A new gym is welcoming kids with a disability to play sports that are specifically designed for their needs.

14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Lawmaker proposes bill to help solve law enforcement ‘crisis’