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The City Journals

Midvale police chief speaks on traumatic crimes, officers mental health

Nov 24, 2020 02:02PM ● By Erin Dixon

A Midvale City Council meeting is still aired live on YouTube. Midvale Unified Police Chief Randy Thomas gave his bi-monthly report from his office at the precinct headquarters. (Image/YouTube)

By Erin Dixon | [email protected]

Within three months, one group of officers responded to three calls, one of which ended with a violent death and traumatized children. The following presentation was made by Midvale Unified Police Chief Randy Thomas in a Midvale City Council meeting in November.

“The graveyard crew in the last 90 days has come across three very significant and traumatic incidents: Two homicides as well as a young man who hung himself.

“These things tend to build up and we have to look out for [the officers] mental welfare and health, so Lieutenant Malone and I are looking into that. You can give them a commendation for their good deeds, their great public safety and service but we want to look out for their mental health,” Thomas said.

The two homicide stories were covered by daily news sources, but there is more to those stories. 

Each of these incidents occurred within one week of each other, Friday to Friday. 

“We had a domestic violence call that resulted in a tragic death. It was extremely unfortunate that two children had to witness that event. Our officers on scene tended to those children who had fled the residence to the safety of a neighbor’s house. In a quick debrief from the children, it was determined that they had to take immediate action and enter the house where the event occurred. The officers made a quick and hasty entry and found one deceased and one in critical condition.

“As I arrived on scene, I saw Carmen Contreras, our victim advocate, with the kids taking them out of the ambulance. One of the children suffered some fairly good cuts to the hand and had to be taken to the hospital,” Thomas explained.

“The little girl that had a cut hand was actually wearing her Halloween outfit. She was supposed to go to a Halloween party that night and she was really excited about that. We had to take that from her and bag that for evidence. 

“Our investigative unit, out of their own pockets, bought about $400 worth of clothing for those kids so they could attend those events,” he said.

“Carmen worked for two days straight with the families on both sides getting legal assistance, [and] arranging for cleanup....She went out at the end of the week with the Gail Miller grant and purchased the funeral clothing for the children. The families have been very grateful. Carmen went to the services. It was a really good healing process for the family.”

A week after the homicide, the same officers were on shift and responded to a shooting.

“One of the involved that was shot ran into the WinCo seeking help. Once again, [the officers] attended to the victim and ended up putting a tourniquet on the gentleman because he was bleeding quite heavily and probably saved his life.”