After Pelosi attack, Utah officials say elected leaders are safe

Nov 2, 2022, 8:00 PM | Updated: Nov 3, 2022, 7:05 am
elected safety...
FILE: Jess Anderson, Utah’s Commissioner of Public Safety, is photographed in his office at the Utah Department of Public Safety building in Taylorsville on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)
(Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — In the wake of an attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the Commissioner of Utah’s Department of Public Safety says he’s confident Utah’s elected officials are safe.

The Department of Public Safety is in charge of security for state leaders and sometimes for Utah’s federal delegation when they’re in the state.

“We in the state of Utah are very robust in monitoring and trying to stay ahead of these critical issues and detecting threats,” said DPS Commissioner Jess Anderson. 

If a threat is made, it’s analyzed. They also combine information they receive with tips from the public as well as other information from law enforcement partners across the state. 

From there they determine whether the threat is a statement of ideology, or if it’s something more.

A nationwide network

Utah is part of what Anderson called a nationwide fusion center. It’s where analysts, police agencies, and those monitoring social media can share information. This fusion center was born after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“Individual agencies across the nation had certain information, but none of it was being shared,” Anderson said. “(The fusion center) gives us the ability to share information broadly and deconflict cases.” 

The fusion centers help law enforcement see, more clearly and more quickly, if and when a certain actor needs their attention.

“It’s really developed into networking across the nation for us to share this kind of information, in hopes of trying to pick up these actors, these bad actors, that have great intent to do harm, before that is actually carried out,” Anderson said.

He described the center as a hive of talented people analyzing information, and all for the benefit of the people of Utah.

Risky business

Anderson said that despite all their best precautions, lawmakers are at risk simply for deciding to do the job they do.

“Elected officials have the ability to be in harm’s way simply by being willing to put themselves out there. To do a job, a civic job, that not everybody wants to do.”

Simone Seikaly contributed to this report.

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After Pelosi attack, Utah officials say elected leaders are safe