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Meet-and-Greet Held as Police Program Changes Under New Chief

Sep 27, 2015 07:52PM ● Published by Rhett Wilkinson

Salt Lake City Interim Police Chief Mike Brown talks to members of the media. Under Brown, the Community Intelligence Unit program has changed significantly. Photo courtesy Scott G. Winterton

By Rhett Wilkinson

Police in the Community Intelligence Unit made outreach to Sugar House residents two months after the program shifted significantly from the administrations of Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank to Interim Chief Mike Brown.

A meet-and-greet was held in August for residents of Salt Lake City District 7, which includes Sugar House, to meet Detective Tyler Lowe, the officer assigned to the district as part of the CIU.

Police and government officials said the program underwent large changes, including those in tenure, prestige and how to get in, after Brown took over for Burbank in June. Burbank resigned after an ultimatum from Mayor Ralph Becker, who is running for re-election.

Previously, an officer may have held a CIU position for as little as six months, as it depended upon the schedule for an officer’s promotion. The assignment depended upon a pecking order, Detective Greg Wilking said.

“You kind of had to burn through all of the people being promoted in order to get through that program very quickly,” Wilking said. “Chief Burbank liked the CIU program as a management training program.”

The job was little more than a stepping stone, being assigned. Now, with a focus on the position requires an application, is supposed to be critical to an officer’s career and, thus, lasts at least two years, Wilking said. Lowe’s circumstance is a “misnomer” because he was in the program as a sergeant-in-training, which came before Brown took over and changed the program, he added.

“I’m really close to the top of the list to be promoted, so there has been some turnover pretty quickly in the past,” Lowe said. “That’s hard for the community and the citizens to get to know, work with and trust an officer, and then you get promoted and you’re gone,” Lowe said.

Wilkins said that someone might him might apply for the CIU position including Sugar House since he is familiar with the area. The CIU’s seven detectives, each representing a Salt Lake City political district, attend monthly community council meetings.

“If you have a problem in your neighborhood, from graffiti to loud parties, drug dealers to gangs, your CIU officer is ready to connect you with the law enforcement and community resources necessary to address the issue,” according to the department website.

Calling the program “different,” Lowe said it is more positive than the job children imagine when they dream of being police.

“It’s a lot more community involvement and meeting people and getting called to the scene of something,” Lowe said. “I get invited to come to neighborhood parties... They are excited to have you get involved and people actually like the police.”

Community councils told the Salt Lake City council that they liked the CIU idea, while Chris Burbank was the Salt Lake City police chief. Interim Chief Mike Brown has been impressive in guiding the changes, councilwoman Lisa Adams said. The police department started the program was created after community councils and Salt Lake City council members complained, she said.

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