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SLC Mayor Erin Mendenhall makes major changes to police policies

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall announces changes to police procedures, Aug. 3 -- which includes when officers can use deadly use of force. (Photo: Kelli Pierce)

SALT LAKE CITY – Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall has signed an executive order that makes major changes to police policies following months of protests in the city. 

Mendenhall outlined the reforms during a news conference with Police Chief Mike Brown on Monday. 

Many of the reforms focus on when officers can use deadly force. 

“An officer must now determine that deadly force is necessary and the threat of death or serious bodily injury is imminent. Necessary and imminent will be carefully defined,” Mendenhall said.

Officers can no longer use deadly force on someone who may be a danger to themselves but is not to others. 

Police will also have to use de-escalation tactics in most cases before using any force on a suspect. 

Two levels of supervisors will review all uses of force, even if they do not result in anyone being injured. 

Another area of reform is requiring officers to step in when they see another officer doing something wrong. 

“Any officer who reasonably believes that another officer is about to use force or other action that is illegal, excessive, or otherwise inconsistent with policy must, absent extraordinary circumstances, do whatever they can to interrupt the flow of events and prevent the use of force,” Mendenhall said. 

The third area of reform involves warrantless searches. 

Police will now have to get verbal or written consent from someone if they are searching their vehicle or property without a warrant. They will also have to tell the person they have a right to refuse. 

Mendenhall said they are updating the consent to search form, which is only in English right now. 

Lastly, officers could be disciplined if they do not activate their body-worn cameras or intentionally deactivate them.

Mendenhall said she worked with police to come up with the new policies.

Chief Mike Brown supports the reforms.

“Some of these policy revisions reflect national best practices. Others will be seen as a new gold standard of policing with the Salt Lake City Police Department leading the way,” Brown said. 

However, recommendations from the city’s new commission on racial equity in policing could also be on its way.

“These are some meaningful, substantive, lasting changes that we are working with the police department to proactively make. We believe this is the beginning, and there will be more changes to come in the future,” Mendenhall said after the event. 

The executive order will be implemented by September 5th after the police union has a chance to review it.

     

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