South Salt Lake residents question if former police officers should sit on civilian review board

Oct 15, 2020, 6:44 AM | Updated: 6:45 am
civilian review South Salt...
South Salt Lake’s City Hall is pictured on Friday, Oct. 9, 2020. Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah – Wendi Melling is a former dispatcher who has a soft spot for police officers. But she does not want to see a retired police officer on South Salt Lake’s new civilian review board. 

Melling told the city council last night that police officers have a brotherhood that can help them through bad times. 

However, she also feels it could lead to a conflict of interest, something no one would accept in other situations like a courtroom. 

“I think we can all agree there would be a public outcry if…people who were undergoing a jury trial had family members involved in the adjudication,” Melling said. 

Many people who spoke at last night’s meeting like Eliza McKinney said they also do not want family members of current police officers on the board. 

She also feels having the police involved would defeat the purpose.

“The whole point is that they’re civilians. It’s not supposed to be police making those decisions and having those discussions. I would also hope that the council thinks about removing a police officer from even attending…I think that that puts a lot of pressure and unspoken sway on the board,” McKinney said. 

Councilwoman Natalie Pinkney also expressed concern that the language of the ordinance setting up the board could allow current police officers from any city sit on South Salt Lake’s civilian review board. 

But some think excluding former police officers is unfair. 

South Salt Lake Fraternal Order of Police President Chad Leetham thinks retired officers bring a needed perspective. 

“Retired law enforcement, who have now served their time and are citizens of our great South Salt Lake community, shouldn’t really be penalized because of the profession they were in. Some of them were in 10 years, some of them were in 30, 40 years. But I still think they bring a lot to the table to bring some context and review to that board,” Leetham said.      

Other commenters also asked the council to make the board democratically elected instead of appointed by the mayor. 

South Salt Lake is in the process of putting together an ordinance to create the civilian review board. 

Some city council members have been open to the idea of having one former police officer be a voting member on the board. 

Currently, the plan calls for a police officer to be a non-voting member of the board. 

Live Mic: Rep. Ray on limiting power of civilian review boards

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

A single vehicle accident at 300 West 1700 South....
Waverly Golden

Clearfield power and traffic alert

Clearfield Police Department said in a Facebook post that a single-vehicle accident has occurred at 300 West 1700 South.
1 day ago
(Photo credit: Shelby Lofton)...
Waverly Golden

Robbery at swap meet leaves one victim shaken up

Around 5:50 p.m. today, a suspect armed with a handgun fired shots inside an indoor swap meet in the area of 1500 W. 3500 S.
1 day ago
Former President Donald Trump is set to hold a campaign rally on March 25 in Waco, Texas....
Eric Bradner and Kate Sullivan, CNN

Trump baselessly rails against ‘prosecutorial misconduct’ at Waco rally as investigations loom

Former President Donald Trump baselessly railed against what he called "prosecutorial misconduct" at a campaign rally Saturday night in Texas, denying any wrongdoing amid investigations in New York, Georgia and Washington.
1 day ago
Gov. Brad Little signed a bill this week that prohibits transgender students in the state from usin...
Sydney Kashiwagi, CNN

Idaho governor signs bill that restricts transgender students’ bathroom use in schools

Idaho governor Gov. Brad Little signed a bill this week that prohibits transgender students in the state from using public school bathrooms that do not align with their gender assigned at birth.
1 day ago
Members of the police work, after two migrants suffocated to death aboard a freight train that got ...

Two migrants found dead in shipping container on train in Uvalde County, Texas

Two migrants were found dead in a shipping container on a train the authorities stopped east of Uvalde, Texas, on Friday, according to local police.
1 day ago
tiktok logo pictured, a possible ban is looking...
Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN Business

Where TikTok users may go if the app gets banned

Washington's efforts to crack down on TikTok could ultimately benefit some of the same American tech companies that Washington has scrutinized.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...
BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.
Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a new winter activity? Try skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.
Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five common causes of Cervical Cancer – and what you can do to lower your risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get ready for fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 easy Christmas dinner ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
South Salt Lake residents question if former police officers should sit on civilian review board