CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Pioneer Park Coalition calls out SLC leaders for “lawless” homeless camps

Sep 14, 2021, 6:23 PM
Pioneer Park entrance in downtown, Salt Lake City.  (Nick Wyatt, KSL Newsradio)...
Pioneer Park entrance in downtown, Salt Lake City. (Nick Wyatt, KSL Newsradio)
(Nick Wyatt, KSL Newsradio)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Pioneer Park Coalition called out the mayor and chief of police for Salt Lake City during a news conference Tuesday afternoon. 

Pioneer Park Coalition challenges Salt Lake City leadership 

In a news release, the Pioneer Park Coalition described the public safety and homelessnesses issues in Salt Lake City as “dire.” 

The release also stated a city should treat people within its limits with compassion but added the city must also ensure a safe and clean place for its citizens. 

“I hear from residents and people who live and work here in downtown Salt Lake City, crying out for help every single day. [They are] saying ‘the crime is out of control. When I call the police, they don’t show up. If they do, it’s four hours after the fact’,” said Pioneer Park Coalition Executive Director Tyler Clancy at the news conference Tuesday. 

Clancy believes there is an obvious disconnect between Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown, and the reality of what happens downtown

“If they don’t think there’s a problem, we really need to highlight that there is,” Clancy said. 

Speakers at the news conference also criticized recently built homeless resource centers. The group said opening more shelter beds is not the solution. 

Utah’s former federal prosecutor weighs in

Former U.S. Attorney for Utah, John Huber, also attended the news conference at Pioneer Park. 

Huber said it might be time for Salt Lake County and the state to get involved to help curb the problem of “lawless camping.” 

“The governor’s office, the legislature, county sheriff, county mayor, county council, and certainly the county attorney,” Huber explained. 

Huber cited complaints from police officers who say they cannot arrest campers because of a lack of available jail space. 

Huber feels the Oxbow Jail in Salt Lake County could be used to house arrested campers. 

“So that we can have an option for law enforcement to hold people accountable for breaking the law,” said Huber. 

The mayor’s office and police department respond

The Salt Lake City Police Department and office of Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall issued statements after the Pioneer Park Coalition news conference Tuesday afternoon. 

The SLCPD said any description of the city using the term “lawlessness” is “wrong.” 

Lindsey Nikola, a spokeswoman for Mayor Erin Mendenhall,  said she understands the coalition’s concern but believes their efforts would be better spent trying to help solve the city’s homelessness issues. 

Salt Lake City police said it stands by its method of dealing with homeless campers. It also believes data showing a 5-year average drop in crime of 4.3% is accurate. 

We want to hear from you.

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

Today’s Top Stories

Crime, Police + Courts

The Goonies House...
Taylor Romine and Ralph Ellis, CNN

Man wanted for leaving a dead fish at ‘The Goonies’ house saved by Coast Guard in daring rescue

A man wanted by police in an incident at a house featured in "The Goonies" was the subject of a Coast Guard rescue when he was tossed from a stolen boat as it capsized, authorities said.
1 day ago
SLCPD said the driver is fully cooperating with the investigation and the children received non-lif...
Chandler Holt

SLCPD makes arrest connected to fatal stabbing case

SLCPD announced the arrest of 26-year-old Ivy Chase Grant today. Grant was booked into Salt Lake County Metro Jail on a charge of obstruction of justice. 
1 day ago
Salt Lake City Police say three sticks of dynamite were safely removed from a house this week by it...
Mark Jones

Three sticks of dynamite removed from Salt Lake City home

Three sticks of dynamite were removed from a Salt Lake City home on Wednesday, the SLCPD announced. The dynamite have been seized for investigation.
2 days ago
defraud...
Britt Johnson

Utah County men facing charges for defrauding the United States

The claims state that Zachary Bassett and Mason Warr used a fraudulent tax scheme to receive COVID-19-related relief funds.
2 days ago
Rep. Kera Birkeland, R-Morgan, sponsor of HB297 Victim Services Amendments, poses for a portrait at...
Katie McKellar, Deseret News

A Utah lawmaker and her sister at odds: Should rape victims need to contact police before getting an abortion?

Rep. Kera Birkeland says her bill focuses on rape victim services and holding rapists accountable. But her sister, a rape survivor, says it strips away choices.
2 days ago
On Jan. 31, 2023, a missing Arizona girl was found and rescued from the basement of a registered se...
Elizabeth Weiler

Missing girl from Arizona found in West Valley basement

On Jan. 31, 2023, a missing Arizona girl was found and rescued from the basement of a registered sex offender. 
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

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, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
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. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

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. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

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. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Pioneer Park Coalition calls out SLC leaders for “lawless” homeless camps