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AM News Brief: Women and policing, Utah House leader resigns & Utes retire No. 22

Photo of the University of Utah football stadium
Brian Albers
/
KUER
Utah will retire jersey No. 22 during its game against UCLA on Saturday to honor Ty Jordan and Aaron Lowe, friends and teammates who died nine months apart. This story and more in Wednesday morning's news brief.

Wednesday morning, Oct. 27, 2021

State

State House majority leader announces resignation

Utah House Majority Leader Francis Gibson announced his resignation from the Legislature Tuesday. The Republican from Mapleton served 13 years in the House of Representatives. In a statement, Gibson said he needs to spend more time focusing on his family and career as a hospital administrator. His resignation takes effect on Nov. 8, and the Utah County Republican Party will host a special election to fill his seat. — Emily Means

Northern Utah

U football program to retire No. 22

Utah will retire jersey No. 22 during its game against UCLA on Saturday to honor Ty Jordan and Aaron Lowe, friends and teammates who died nine months apart. The No. 22 will be the first jersey retired in program history. Jordan died at 19 in an accidental shooting on Christmas night 2020. Lowe changed his number to honor his friend, who was also his teammate at West Mesquite High School in Texas. The 21-year-old Lowe was shot at a house party on Sept. 26, hours after Utah’s game against Washington State. He was laid to rest next to his friend earlier this month. — Associated Press

Utah County looks to voucher system for unsheltered people

Temperatures are beginning to drop, and for people experiencing homelessness in Utah County, it’s a big concern. Over 370 people are homeless in the area but the second largest county doesn’t have an overnight shelter. Local organizations, like the United Way of Utah County’s Mountainland Continuum of Care Program, rely on a motel voucher system to get people off the streets when temperatures drop. Heather Hogue, program coordinator for Mountainland, said it’s a harm reduction effort. She’s hoping they’re able to help a wider net of people this year because of their funding. Provo City Housing Authority is looking to purchase a hotel that could provide some rooms. Read the full story. — Ivana Martinez

Region/Nation

Women and policing

Across the Mountain West, women comprise just 4-8% of state police, according to new Pew Research analysis. In Utah, that number is 5%. Experts say gender parity in law enforcement will help to address many of the problems highlighted by the murder of George Floyd. Research shows women officers use less force and excessive force, and they get better outcomes for crime victims, especially in sexual assaults. They are also perceived as more honest and compassionate by diverse communities. Law enforcement agencies across the nation have joined a 30 by 30 initiative by New York University's Policing Project. The goal is to achieve 30% representation of women officers by the year 2030. One Utah law enforcement agency has signed on to the 30 by 30 effort — the University of Utah Police. — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

Growth of Ammon Bundy’s far-right “People’s Rights”

The founder of a far-right anti-government group said a report estimating the organization’s fast growth over the past year undercounted by half. Ammon Bundy took issue with the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights report, saying the group People’s Rights is actually much larger and more of a network than an organization. The report, released last week, found that the organization has grown by roughly 53% in the past year to more than 33,000 members, rapidly expanding nationwide and making inroads into Canada. Bundy said the report is inaccurate and that People’s Rights now has more than 62,000 members. The organization has been largely focused on fighting public health restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic. — Associated Press

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