Dear Salt Lake City,
George Floyd’s murder at the hands of rogue police officers has again raised important questions across the nation about the use of force and systemic racism. Many of you are rightfully asking us, “What are you doing to prevent this from happening here?”
We — Mayor Mendenhall, the Salt Lake City Council and the Salt Lake City Police Department — stand united in our commitment to the police department’s mission to preserve life and protect human rights. We believe in community-based policing where law enforcement is equated with the safety of every single resident, not with fear and violence.
We believe that our police officers show up to work every single shift with the goal of protecting human lives and human rights equitably among all residents. But we also acknowledge that there is systemic racism that affects our residents every day. We must all come together to intentionally address and dismantle the systemic oppression, discrimination, racism, and bigotry that exists in our city. The fear, anger, hurt, and frustration felt by so many in our community is justified, and we cannot allow its source to continue unaddressed.
We want to be transparent with you, our residents, about our police department’s policies and procedures. We acknowledge that, while we strive to employ progressive policies and a culture of accountability among our ranks, we can always do better and we are committed to working with the community to do that.
Where we are:
We work to ensure Salt Lake City’s residents can have confidence in our police department through training, accountability, community involvement, and use of force policies.
Use of Force
First and foremost, Salt Lake City Police Department’s policy does not allow the use of technique of knees to the head or neck as a form of restraint, nor is it allowed to physically restrain an individual once compliance is established. Reports of violations of this policy are investigated and addressed immediately.
When individuals are taken into custody, sometimes officers have to deal with people who are combative. Once an arrested person is in custody, SLCPD policy requires the officer to put the person in the ‘recovery position’ (on their side or sitting up) and must monitor breathing and other health concerns until the arrested person can be transported. EMS is called to address any and all medical complaints and concerns.
Under department policy, a police officer must never employ unnecessary force or violence and should use only such force in the discharge of duty as is reasonable in all circumstances. It is imperative that officers act within the boundaries of legal guidelines, ethics, good judgment, and accepted practices whenever using force in the course of duty. Force should only be used with the greatest restraint and only after discussion, negotiation and persuasion have been found to be inappropriate or ineffective. While the use of force is occasionally necessary to detain a suspect or protect others, every police officer must refrain from applying the unnecessary infliction of pain or suffering and may never engage in cruel, degrading or inhuman treatment of any person.
Whenever an Officer makes contact with citizens in the field and determines it necessary to control individuals through the use of mechanical restraints or physical force, the Officer completes a Use of Force Detail on the corresponding case documenting the effects of the force used.
All use of force data is publicly available here: http://www.slcpd.com/open-data/use-of-force/
If you feel there has been an inappropriate use of force, you may file a complaint by calling 801-799-3351 or here: http://apps.slcgov.com/general/absolutefp/SLCPD_complaint.htm. The department accepts anonymous complaints and there is no wrong way to make a complaint.
These reports are investigated by Internal Affairs and the Civilian Review Board, which is a Board composed of Salt Lake City residents appointed to the board by the mayor, and has the ability to review allegations of inappropriate use of force.
SLCPD conducts ongoing, nationally-recognized training to prevent bias and promote deescalation and exceptional police tactics in their work with our public. This training includes:
Implicit-bias-awareness training that dovetails with the profession’s current emphasis on evidence-based policing, whereby policies and practices are based on scientific research.
A two-day training course designed to educate officers on principles and practices of human effectiveness, purpose-driven work, resilience, positive attitude, and sound judgment. Officers learn resiliency as well as mechanisms for coping with stressful situations in a healthy way.
Training, consulting, coaching, and implementation tools that move individuals, teams, and organizations from the default self-focus we call an inward mindset to the results focus of an outward mindset. Officers learn tactics for overcoming differences at the lowest level and working toward problem solving decision making.
Human Bias Training
Training to identify the differences between implicit bias and explicit bias. Attendees study how the brain categorizes people and situations and how those categorizations can be changed instantly with very little effort.
Crisis Intervention Team
The term “CIT” is often used to describe both a program and a training in law enforcement to help guide interactions between law enforcement and those experiencing a mental illness crisis. CIT Training is intended to ensure that officers recognize individuals experiencing a mental illness crisis and adjust their interactions with those individuals accordingly.
Policies and procedures at SLCPD aim to foster trust and transparency between SLCPD and our city’s residents:
Policy 300.2.1: Duty to Intercede
Any officer present and observing another officer using force that is clearly beyond that which is objectively reasonable under the circumstances shall, when in a position to do so, intercede to prevent the use of unreasonable force. An officer who observes another employee use force that exceeds the degree of force permitted by law should promptly report these observations to a supervisor.
To better help our officers and the community as well as improve transparency, SLCPD requires all first responders to wear body-worn cameras. Our agency was among the first in the nation to deploy body-worn cameras to its front-line personnel, and we continually strive to stay up-to-date with technology and digital storage. In the event of an officer-involved critical incident, the footage of the incident is released to the public within 10 business days. Additionally, all officer-involved critical incidents are investigated by four different bodies: an outside agency, internal affairs, the Civilian Review Board of the city and the District Attorney’s office. The training unit reviews these incidents to identify and implement in future training.
This is the Early Intervention and Identification Program, which is the Department’s proactive, non-disciplinary approach to identifying employees who may need assistance for a variety of issues and to document actions taken to assist such employees. The intention is to identify a pattern of potentially problematic behavior and address it immediately.
Commitment to non-biased policing: This policy provides guidance to SLCPD members that affirms Salt Lake City Police Department’s commitment to policing that is fair and objective.
SLCPD implemented Intervention Code 909 in 2016. It is Salt Lake City Police Department’s expectation that officers intervene to prevent a fellow officer from escalating a situation beyond control.
321.4 GENERAL STANDARDS
Members shall conduct themselves, whether on- or off-duty, in accordance with the United States and Utah Constitutions and all applicable laws, ordinances and rules enacted or established pursuant to legal authority.
In addition to these policies and procedures, SLCPD recently became fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA). CALEA accreditation is an ongoing process that thoroughly reviews an agency’s policies and procedures and requires compliance with an established set of professional standards to achieve accreditation. CALEA is the international vanguard of best practices for policing, and accreditation is the gold standard.
SLCPD has worked hard to build authentic, consistent relationships of access and honesty with many community organizations and meets with two critical groups on a regular basis.
The Community Advocates Group (CAG) has met regularly for the last three years. It consists of members from Utah Against Police Brutality, Black Lives Matter, Coalition for Police Reform, and family members of people who have been killed in police encounters.
The Community Advisory Board is composed of various Salt Lake City residents, who represent and advocate for many communities within SLC. It has met every other month for the last three years to weigh in on policies, address community concerns, and advise the Chief of Police. This group helps to provide critical two-way dialogue between the community and the department.
Where we go from here:
As a first step since this week’s tragic events, SLCPD Chief Brown has asked community leaders to review and give feedback on the department’s training and restraint policies. The group will provide recommendations to the Chief, Mayor, and City Council on areas where training and policies could be improved. We look forward to continuing dialogue with the CAG and others on how to ensure that the Salt Lake City Police Department can foster a culture of service, respect, and compassion toward the communities we serve.
Very truly yours,
Mayor Mendenhall, the Salt Lake City Council, and SLCPD Chief Mike Brown
How to help:
Thank you to all of the residents of Salt Lake City and beyond who have offered to assist with cleanup and recovery efforts! We are grateful that so many feel the same pride and love for our City as we do and want to build a better city for all. Here are some ways to contribute.
- Become an ally of all members of our community who have been oppressed. Commit yourself to facing and addressing systemic racism and bigotry. We will grow and recover by coming together to rebuild policies and address, unearth and unpack the systemic racism that exits in this city and throughout our nation. Engage with local and state leaders to make our city and state better. As Salt Lake City embarks upon our citywide equity plan over this next year, lend your voice to the effort so we can make this the City we need it to be. Here are some resources to get started: Ibram X. Kendi; Paul Kivel; Holly Richardson.
- If you go out to clean up, please protect yourself by wearing proper equipment. Remember that we are still in the “orange” phase of COVID-19 and the threat of infection is still very real. Wear a mask and gloves, and remain at least 6 feet away from anyone who is not a member of your household. While we are asking people to comply with the curfew order until Monday morning, volunteers are specifically authorized by the City to gather in small groups in public spaces to assist with clean up.
- Use trash cans placed in the downtown area. Our crews are out sweeping the streets and emptying trash receptacles on sidewalks regularly. Thank you!
- Patronize local downtown businesses. While you’re there, ask how you can help. Here’s a map of downtown restaurants and shops from the Downtown Alliance.