CRIME

SLC police and city boost push to hire new cops

Nov 12, 2021, 6:14 PM
salt lake city civil rights...
FILE: Police and protesters clash near Library Square in Salt Lake City on Saturday, May 30, 2020. Protesters joined others across the nation to decry the death of George Floyd, a Black man, who died while being taken into custody by police in Minneapolis earlier this week. Photo credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said the police department is on pace to meet its goal of filling all of its open positions by the end of January.

Police Chief Mike Brown and Mendenhall addressed the KSL/Deseret News Editorial Board this week.

Mayor Mendenhall said since the start of the year the department has lost 131 officers for one reason or another.

“We hit the all-time low at the end of June with 91 openings. In July, we did the pay increase, which was the single largest pay increase since the Corradini administration,” Mendenhall said. 

The hiring bonus includes a 30% increase for starting officers, the mayor said.

Deedee Corradini was mayor of the city from 1992 to 2000.

The chief said the number of officer vacancies now stands at 57.

“We have been hiring at a faster rate than any other department in the state. We know that as a state, we’re down about 600 to 700 officers. Nationally, many, many departments across this country are seeing a shortage of officers,” the mayor said.

Mendenhall said the department hiring program includes a $5,000 bonus for 20 SLPD officers to recruit 20 officers from other departments.

“If both officers will sign a three-year commitment to the department, they can split $2,500 each,” she said. “We know that our officers our own best recruitment tool.”

The chief said even though officers received a pay raise, it is still difficult for them to affordable to live in homes inside the city limits.

“The average median cost of home in Salt Lake County is over $550,000. I’m telling you, although they got a nice raise, new police officers cannot afford those types of homes. And so they have to live further out from the cities they work in.

“One of our strategies is to see if there aren’t some sort of incentive programs to allow our officers to live at least in this county, but hopefully in Salt Lake City,” Brown said.

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SLC police and city boost push to hire new cops