CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Kearns mayor responds to bill potentially disbanding Unified Police

Feb 16, 2023, 5:15 PM

The Mayor of Kearns has come out against H.B. 374, a bill proposed by Rep. Jordan Teuscher, R-South...

FILE: Kearns Mayor Kelly Bush addresses the Granite Board of Education during a board meeting at the Granite School District offices in IN 2019. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

(Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

KEARNS, Utah — The mayor of Kearns has come out against H.B. 374, a bill proposed by Rep. Jordan Teuscher, R-South Jordan, eliminating the Unified Police Department (UPD).

In a statement issued Thursday, Kearns Mayor Kelly Bush said she is against H.B. 374.

Related: Unified Police Department could be eliminated under new proposed bill

“The UPD currently provides law enforcement services to Kearns, and we will strive to work with UPD to reform their current model and services,” Bush said in a statement.

“We have expressed our opposition to this bill and will continue to fight this to the end. We are not out of the game on this one.”

In the statement, Bush said she has received “overwhelming feedback and concern from our [Kearns] residents” about Teuscher’s bill. 

She said people in her community are talking about the changes to public safety, service and the cost to taxpayers that H.B. 374 may introduce.

Teuscher told KSL NewsRadio that some of the cities in Salt Lake County which he represents were concerned about shared services and the cost of those services (a SWAT team or mental health services, for example).

He said their concern rested with the payment of countywide taxes. Teuscher said those taxes don’t necessarily cover the southwestern Salt Lake Valley.


 

“Kearns is not subsidized by cities or the county,” Bush’s statement continued. “The Salt Lake Valley Law Enforcement Service Area (SLVLESA) leverages property taxes that pay for our own services, and H.B. 374 is based upon misinformation that we have worked vigorously to dispel.”

In her statement, Bush said the Kearns Metro Council will start a conversation now in anticipation of the bill’s passage. However, the bill’s current language gives UPD cities and townships two years to get new law enforcement services.

“We will look at all available options,” Bush said.

UPD is a multi-jurisdictional police force that formed in 2009.  It now provides police services for Copperton, Kearns and Magna Townships, as well as Holladay, Midvale and Millcreek. In addition, UPD serves the southeastern portions of Midvale made up of  White City Township, Granite West, Willow Canyon, Willow Creek and the Sandy Hills communities.

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Kearns mayor responds to bill potentially disbanding Unified Police