SoJo police chief talks growth, crime and funding
Aug 12, 2020 02:47PM
By Susan Palmer
The South Jordan Police Department has released recent statements regarding nationwide protests on police brutality. (Susan Palmer/City Journals)
By Susan Palmer | [email protected]
Peaceful demonstrations on May 30 in Salt Lake City escalated into a full-blown riot. Protestors defaced buildings, including the State Capitol Building, and looted and burned a police vehicle after turning it upside-down in the street. South Jordan police were among those that rushed to the aid of Salt Lake PD to quell the violence. Officers were pelted with rocks and bottles, and some were injured by the flying debris.
The protests have continued, and several more outbreaks of violence have occurred. Among those episodes, a Provo resident was shot in the arm by a protestor while he was trying to maneuver his car around the marchers. Also, when Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill put out a decision on a recent police shooting, violence again erupted. The protestors defaced Gill’s office, covering it in graffiti and paint, and smashed several windows.
South Jordan Journal posed some questions to the SoJo Police force asking about the agreements to help other cities in Utah, what was their response to protestor’s demands to defund the police and what new training and hiring practices might be implemented in view of recent events.
The Journal received this statement from South Jordan Police Chief Jeff Carr:
“The South Jordan Police Department has mutual aid agreements with all cities in Salt Lake County, including Salt Lake City. We responded to those agreements during protests in downtown Salt Lake and we will continue to respond to those agreements as necessary.”
South Jordan is growing at a fast pace, Carr continued, referencing a recent census report, that it is one of America’s 10 fastest-growing cities and since 2017, 1,050 new homes have been added per year with approximately 3.42 people per home. This means calls for service will continue to grow.
“While we enjoy a relatively low crime rate, it doesn’t mean that crime isn’t happening in the city,” Carr said in the statement. “Residents can help lower property crime by taking some small measures. First, don’t leave your keys in your car; lock your car, and don’t leave valuables in plain sight. Second, criminals enjoy a dark environment to work in, so consider leaving your porch and garage lights on at night. Third, use cameras to dissuade criminals and provide the police department with leads in the event a crime does occur.”
Carr noted that calls for service include situations not factored into the crime rate. Traffic accidents, domestic disputes, mental health issues, drug crimes and disturbances are not part of the calculated crime rate but require a response and can be very time consuming.
“As South Jordan and the valley continue to grow, we can expect some crime and other problems to increase,” Carr said. “However, we all can help reduce that impact. A police substation and fire station—Station 64—is under construction in the Daybreak area, which will provide more of a police presence on the west side of the city. We also need our residents to become involved in their community, which includes promptly reporting suspicious activity. We encourage neighbors to consider forming a neighborhood watch in their area. With the help of technology, we have the opportunity to enhance safety and how we protect neighborhoods.”
“The police department uses data to help determine how many officers are needed to provide the current level of service to the community” Carr continued. “This includes examining staffing needs by hour of day, types of calls and the number of multiple-officer calls, average response time and time spent on a call, caseloads and clearance rates for investigators, specialty needs like traffic officers, K9 officers, drug investigators and school resource officer staffing as new schools are built among other factors. The department constantly evaluates our response to calls for service and if it is appropriate to continue a particular service. South Jordan is committed to fiscal responsibility while providing resources and levels of service that our residents have requested. Given the services mentioned above and that criminal conduct will continue, we will always need the police department to protect our city. However, we should always examine other alternatives to providing the best service to our residents and using your tax dollars wisely. We are committed to doing that now and in the future.”
The complaint process of the SoJo police department is that they accept all complaints regarding its service and promptly investigate any allegations of inappropriate conduct. Anyone wishing to make a complaint can call the help line at 801-446-4357 or stop by the police department at 10655 South Redwood Road.
Another statement regarding these current issues was issued to the SoJo residents on the SoJo website on June 16 by Carr, which is available on the South Jordan city website.