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Lawmaker Proposes Bills To Address Police Reform During Utah's 2021 Legislative Session

Photo of police officers and men in camouflage outfitted with riot gear. There are tan military vehicles and a police cruiser in the background.
Kelsie Moore
State Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, plans to propose two bills that address police reform.

This year’s movement against police brutality and racial injustice has spurred some Utah lawmakers to action.

Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, plans to propose two bills that deal with police reform.

She said officers are already required to do 40 hours of training a year, so one of her bills would require 16 of those be focused on crisis intervention and de-escalation.

“Whenever there is a situation that's high stress, I want to make sure that our peace officers have the proper training,” she said. “When we look at how we move forward as a state, this is something that's key.”

Romero’s other bill would mandate law enforcement agencies keep track of their use-of-force through a federal database.

“Once we get the data, we can see what's going on to address the problem,” Romero said. “It helps us in regards to policy, and it helps us look at [if there’s] excessive use of force.”

She acknowledged there are strong feelings on either side of the issue but said her proposals are just common sense.

“I know there will be some in my district that don't feel like I go far enough,” Romero said. “But we have to have a starting point. I don't want someone who I represent to be afraid every time they see a police car in back of them. Those are the things I'm concerned with, and that’s why I want to move forward with this.”

Romero said she’s also working with another lawmaker to create a commission that would recommend policing policies for the state.

During the summer, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill suggested 18 policy amendments around police reform for the Legislature to consider.

Emily Means is a government and politics reporter at KUER.
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