UTAH

Taylorsville declares intent to leave Unified Police Dept.

Jun 22, 2020, 9:47 PM | Updated: 9:59 pm

salt lake county air quality taylorsville unified police...

Photo: Heather Kelly, KSL

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — The city of Taylorsville will leave the Unified Police Department, according to a letter sent by city officials to the governing board of UPD. 

The letter indicates Taylorsville’s exit will take effect at the end of June 2021, when the city plans to form its own police department. 

“It is not a decision we made lightly,” said Taylorsville Mayor Kristie Overson in a statement emailed to KSL. “We have long been a champion of UPD and have greatly appreciated their service, particularly the enduring work of our precinct officers to keep our community safe. At the same time, we recognize that we are at a crossroads. We want to take what’s great about UPD and build upon it.”

Overson said while the decision will likely save Taylorsville some money, it was not a decision made solely to do so. 

“In considering policy, legal and economic issues, all of those roads lead to an independent police department,” she said. 

She said the city also wants to have more of a voice in policing and policies at a time when the nation is having conversations about police practices. 

“We are always looking for ways to improve and strengthen the community. We see the importance of policy in relationship to policing. Particularly now, with the current political climate, we do not think it is wise to outsource our police department,” Overson said. 

As for what comes next for a future Taylorsville police department, the letter said city leaders plan to hold focus groups in the coming months. They plan to gather input on everything from operations to structure to costs. 

Taylorsville City Council Chair Meredith Harker said the decision has the full support of the five-member council. 

“Public safety is a responsibility we take very seriously,” Harker said. “When you think about the role of community governance, maintaining and supporting a strong police force is vital.” 

She expected the council to approve the withdrawal from UPD at the next city council meeting on July 1. 

The city of Taylorsville joined the Unified Police Department in 2012. 

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Taylorsville declares intent to leave Unified Police Dept.