As promised, I’m looping back with information addressing these serious issues at Liberty Park.
Here’s what the City is currently doing to keep you safe in Parks:
- The Police Department has a bike squad dedicated to patrolling parks and urban trails, including Liberty Park. Unfortunately, they are often pulled to more pressing calls, not in parks.
- To address staffing shortages in the Police Department, 911 Dispatch, and other emergency responders, the Council recently increased their salaries, in some cases over 30% which is unprecedented.
- The Council increased the number of social workers in the Police Department and added another Medical Response Team in the Fire Department.
- We repealed an outdated ordinance that prevented SLCPD from hiring qualified lateral officers (civil service commission).
- SLC is coordinating with the US Attorney’s office and US Marshalls to target hardened and serious criminals operating in our city.
That being said, there is always more we can do to tackle ongoing concerns with safety in public spaces. Here are a few items I’d like to see through as the Council and the Mayor’s Office work together on ways to lower the crime rate.
- The Council created a $2 million holding account to fund the creation of a civilian response program to handle lower-priority (non-emergency) calls for service. A successful launch of this program will greatly free up police for more emergent and violent calls.
- The city needs to work toward seamless Collaboration between 911 Dispatch/Police/Fire/Social Workers/and the new Civilian Response Team.
- Police recruiting and staffing needs to improve so the Parks Bike Patrol can be fully available only for parks.
- In general, we need greater Improvements and investments in parks and open space to deter crime naturally.
We need your help! Here are ways you can do to help create more safety in parks:
- Report crimes you observe, no matter how minor you think it is. This will help provide the Police Department with the data to inform the strategic deployment of patrols and operations.
- Encourage friends to apply for a career within SLCPD.
- Stay engaged as we discuss the upcoming bond resolution to advocate for parks funding.
Major cities across the United States are similarly struggling to staff their police departments, to help the unsheltered community, and to reduce crime, as are we. I ask for your patience, your assistance, and participation as we work for solutions to serious problems.