Salt Lake City

Council votes to fund 50 new police officers

Salt Lake City Council Members on Tuesday voted to fund 50 new police officers, plus additional employees to the SLCPD’s social work office, crime lab and civilian workforce.

Also funded by the Council are four new positions related to social work at the Community Connection Center (CCC), an office in the PD dedicated to helping those experiencing homelessness.

“It has long been my desire to expand the variety of resources available to our Police Department,” said Council Chair Stan Penfold, who led the initiative that added the social workers to the CCC. “Our PD needs every tool available to meet our public safety challenges.”

Council Members nearly doubled a recommendation from the Mayor Biskupski, who proposed adding 27 new officers. The new officers who would be phased in over the next year as they are trained for patrol.

“I proposed this addition to the police force for all our neighborhoods,” said Council Vice Chair Charlie Luke. “We have many needs, but none greater than safe streets and a friendly environment in our City. With the near doubling of our daytime population every day, ensuring the safety of both our residential neighborhoods and our daily visitors is critical.”

Other Council Members expressed their unanimous support.

“Public safety is a core responsibility of local government,” said Council Member Lisa Adams. “It is up to us to listen to the public and address their safety concerns.”

“Our community is growing. We keep a close eye on the public safety needs in our communities and parks,” said Council Member Erin Mendenhall. “It is clear to me from listening to the SLCPD and our neighborhoods that this is the time to act.”

The increase in officers would require approximately a $4 million increase in this fiscal year’s budget. Council Members acknowledged that adding more officers will require evaluating many funding options to pay for the increase in the force.

“We acknowledge that adding more police officers will require an increase in this year’s budget and we take that very seriously,” said Council Member Andrew Johnston. “We will need to be very careful and deliberate in considering how we pay for this important increase.”

“We need to get ahead of crime,” said Council Member Derek Kitchen. “We need to return to community oriented policing. With this addition, the Council has made a commitment to a change.”

Nine other positions supported by the Council included employees for the crime lab and a victim advocate position.