New study reveals use of force by police down in SLC

Feb 25, 2022, 5:29 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 4:56 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Use-of-force incidents among Salt Lake City police officers dropped by 13% in one year, according to a new study released Friday by the department when comparing 2020 with 2021.

Chief Mike Brown said it’s happening despite the fact that arrest, service calls and aggression and assaults towards officers are all up.

“I think you look at good policies. I think you look at exceptional training. I think you look at great police officers and the compassion they are demonstrating and the tactics they are using,” said Chief Brown during a press conference. “Our officers are facing dangerous circumstances every day and they are resolving these potentially deadly situations with compassion and dignity.”

According to the Use of Force report, the department had 172,536 calls for service in 2021, and 985 of those calls resulted in the use of force. That results in officers using force in 0.57% of all calls handled. Brown said officer-involved shootings are not part of the equation, which would be four in 2021.

In 2020 there were a total of 917 use-of-force cases, which is lower than 2021. But SLCPD Deputy Chief Scott Mourtgos said you have to factor in an increase in three other areas.

He says the data shows that compared to 2020 arrests are up by 4.68%, calls handled are up 2.01% and resisting arrest and assault on police officer cases has jumped 16.33%. Factoring in those increases translates into 154 fewer use-of-force cases in 2021.

“In 2020 we had viewer calls for service, viewer arrest and viewer assault on police officers and resisting arrest cases,” said Mourtgos. “You can’t simply compare that number to 2021’s number without taking into account all these other factors because these other factors is what drives that final number.”

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New study reveals use of force by police down in SLC