SLC introduces Safe Passage Initiative

Aug 29, 2022, 4:13 PM | Updated: 4:24 pm
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall speaks at a press conference about the city's new Safe Passage...
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall speaks at a press conference about the city's new Safe Passage Initiative. (Salt Lake City Police Department)
(Salt Lake City Police Department)

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City has introduced a new initiative aimed at helping children get to and from school safely.

The Safe Passage Initiative was announced Monday by Mayor Erin Mendenhall, City Councilwoman Victoria Petro-Eschler, Backman Elementary Principal Matthew Teitter, and the Salt Lake City Police Department.

“Simply put, young students shouldn’t have to worry about getting to school safely and, in turn, their parents shouldn’t have to worry about their kids being in a potentially unsafe space,” Mendenhall said. “This is not an indication of a rise in crime in these areas, but rather a proactive effort to ensure our children are safe when they return to school.”

“Going back to school is an exciting time for everyone,” said SLCPD Chief Mike Brown. “Our police department is committed to helping to ensure the safety of everyone as they head back to school. We have a close relationship with the school district and are looking forward to kicking-off back-to-school in the safest way possible.”

The three schools identified are Jackson Elementary, Backman Elementary, and Horizonte Training and Instruction Center.

“These schools were selected after SLCPD consulted with the Mayor’s Office, School Resource Officers and considered recent community requests for police service around those schools,” read a Monday afternoon press release from the SLCPD.

According to the release, the initiative will include highly visible, marked patrol officers who will saturate the identified areas to serve as a deterrence to any type of crime.

“The increased patrols will continue for two weeks and will include traffic education and enforcement, bike and walking patrol, and highly visible police presence throughout the neighborhoods near the three identified schools,” the release continued.

Officers from the Salt Lake City Police Department’s Liberty Bike, Central and Pioneer Bike Squads, Motors Squad, and school resource officers will be participating in the event, along with SLCPD District Community Liaison Officers, who will be walking to school with the students, parents and staff.

SLCPD officials said the Utah Transit Authority Police will be requested to increase their presence during the operational period.

“The Salt Lake City Police Department, working with the Mayor’s Office, and other stakeholders will continue to do outreach in the days leading up to and throughout the focus areas to ensure people experiencing homelessness have been given appropriate resources and advocacy,” the release stated.

Brown added, “The number one priority to Salt Lake City Officers is helping to ensure the safety of our children. Building relationships with children and young adults this summer is a small part of the preparations the Salt Lake City Police Department has done to respond to safety concerns from the community.”

The SLCPD concluded by providing some safety tips:

  • Drivers must practice safe driving habits and be aware of the lowered 20 mile per hour speed limit.
  • Drivers must follow state law school bus safety zones, including stopping when a school bus stop arm is extended
  • Students should always look both ways before crossing streets
  • Students walking to school should avoid wearing headphone or earbuds so they can be aware of their surrounding
  • If a student sees something unusual or suspicious, they should alert a parent, school administrator, or a police officer right away.

Police said the Safe Passage Initiative may be extended to other schools throughout the year “as staffing, funding and resources allow.”

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SLC introduces Safe Passage Initiative