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Salt Lake City is looking to expand police recruitment, even as crime rates trend downward

A photo of Mike Brown and Erin Mendenhall at a table.
Emily Means
Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown and Mayor Erin Mendenhall presented the city’s updated crime response plan Wednesday.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall and Police Chief Mike Brown announced new efforts to address crime in the capital city Wednesday.

They said overall crime is trending downwards, but the city’s police force is currently short 55 officers.

To help fill those spots, Mendenhall said they’ll be offering more incentives.

One is a $2,500 bonus for current officers if they can recruit peers from other departments to join Salt Lake City. They’ll also give $2,500 to new hires, but both have to sign onto a three-year retention agreement.

Mendenhall said the idea came about from discussions with the local police union. She said the city is trying to listen to law enforcement and show their support for them.

“I want to give a shout out and a heartfelt thank you to Salt Lake City's police officers who keep coming to work in this capital city that has challenges unlike any other city in this state,” Mendenhall said. “I'm heartened by the people who are looking to come here and join our forces.”

The updated plan also includes programs that divert certain calls for service from police to a civilian response team.

Brown said it would take low-priority calls off their plates.

“We need our officers back,” he said. “But also, there are some things that we should really look at and say, ‘Is that really the best use of a police officer and could that be done with another group or another resource we can?’”

Brown said the city is trying to fill all vacancies by next June.

Emily Means is a government and politics reporter at KUER.
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