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SALT LAKE CITY – Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, the Salt Lake City Council, and members of the community today announced the Commission on Racial Equity in Policing, a new advising body convened to make recommendations to the Mayor and City Council on Salt Lake City’s policy, budget, and culture of policing.
Core members of the committee were announced, including Rev. France Davis, pastor emeritus of the Calvary Baptist Church; Aden Batar, Director of Migration and Refugee Services for Catholic Community Services; Verona Sagato-Mauga, Executive Director of Renew Wellness & Recovery; Darlene McDonald, chair of the Utah Black Roundtable; Dr. Moises Prospero of iChamps and a direct practitioner in the area of criminal, juvenile & social justice; and Nicole Salazar-Hall, attorney and current Salt Lake City Human Rights Commissioner.
“Once the protests end and the streets become quiet, it is imperative that we not lose focus. We must redefine a new normal in policing. The Commission on Racial Equity in Policing is a first step. As Chair of the Utah Black Roundtable, I’m grateful to be included in this process,” said Darlene McDonald.
The Commission’s core council will now identify additional people to serve on the Commission to ensure that it includes a broadly inclusive mix of experience and backgrounds. In the coming days and weeks, the core members of the Commission will build their membership, select a group facilitator, and begin drafting a work plan and timeline for Commission work.
“Working toward greater equity and breaking down institutional and systemic racism has been a priority of this administration and City Council, but this priority has been elevated to an urgent status in the past weeks,” Mayor Mendenhall said. “In this time of great fear and mistrust of government and police, it is our hope that this Commission will result in real, positive change to the way our police department functions in the community.”
“I firmly believe that we now have a chance to move forward in this unprecedented journey toward equity,” Council Chair Chris Wharton said. “The Commission has the support and respect of the City Council, and I invite all members of the community to step forward together with us in this work for equity.”
In the course of its work, the Commission will be asked to provide monthly or bi-monthly updates to the mayor and City Council, which may include policy recommendations that can be implemented in the short-term.
The Commission will also be asked to provide a final report that includes a compendium of policy recommendations, budget recommendations, and culture/environment recommendations to be implemented in the Salt Lake City Police Department.
###Tags: Aden Batar, Council Chair Chris Wharton, Nicole Salazar-Hall, Rev. France Davis, Salt Lake City Commission on Racial Equity in Policing, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, Salt Lake City Police Department, Verona Sagato-Mauga