UPDATE: SLC Police to change protocol for information requests

May 24, 2023, 2:17 PM | Updated: 2:23 pm

SLCPD police car...

Photo of a Salt Lake City Police Department vehicle. The Salt Lake City Police Department is investigating two shootings that happened early Saturday morning. Both investigations are ongoing. (File photo)

(File photo)

UPDATE: Salt Lake City Police Department sent an updated statement regarding the way they distribute information stating it will continue to allow phone calls and emails in addition to its new media request form.

“We should have said this in our initial notification announcing our new Media Request Form – but we will make it abundantly clear now — we will continue to provide you with the information you need when you need it, ” the release stated.

This language differed from the original release that said the department would review requests for information and “determine whether an immediate response is needed.”

SLCPD and Utah media are scheduled to meet Thursday, May 25.

The previous release stated, “Journalists who call the department’s media line, 801-799-NEWS, or send an email to, will be directed to fill out the media request form.”  An updated statement from the department said “Our media line (801) 799-6397 and our PR Unit e-mail ( will always remain open for you to reach us. The new Media Request Form will now establish a system of internal redundancy and accountability and will ensure that media inquiries – even after hours – are promptly addressed and tracked. It will not be the sole mechanism for contacting our PIOs.”

The department explained its commitment to journalists and providing information that impacts the neighborhoods and people of the city. It said that commitment extends beyond regular office hours.

Our original reporting is below.

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City Police Department announced it will be changing the way it handles information requests and said it will “determine whether an immediate response is needed.”

Effective Thursday, June 1, the department will implement a “media request form” for all inquiries news related or otherwise.

According to a release by Salt Lake City police, the new approach will “help SLCPD to ensure all media requests are handled in a timely, efficient, and professional manner…”

Related: Multiple Utah schools received fake reports of school shooting, officials say

Previously, journalists could call the department’s media line, 801-799-NEWS, to get timely information on police incidents, crime, or emergency situations. After calling the number, the public information officer working that day would respond by returning the call to the newsroom and providing any relevant information while answering questions.

The new method would require journalists, or other interested parties, to fill out an online form with 10 boxes, four required, and six optional; describing the information sought.

“We believe that this absolutely will help us: not only track what we’re doing but will also help ensure a timely response for media,” Department spokesperson, Brent Weisberg said. 

The release informs the public that after filling out the media request form, “a member of the SLCPD’s PR Unit will review the request to determine whether an immediate response is needed.”

Former SLC Police Chief weighs in

Former Chief Chris Burbank doesn’t think the media request form is a good idea. 

“If everything is online, you’re just going to get a bunch of rogue responses that are not going to satisfy the public,” Burbank said. “Especially if there’s a problem or an issue that we need to know about.”

Burbank said there is a need for a knowledgeable and accessible spokesperson to give the public information they deserve.

“Too many agencies have somebody who’s a spokesperson but they don’t know anything and can’t respond to anything,” Burbank said.

Weisberg said the police department doesn’t have the ability to track the number of public information calls and that this new system would help them measure and keep track of requests.

“What this does is it gives us a metric so we can track it but also what it does is it allows public information officers to get a push notification of what media is requesting,” Weisberg said.

The release also warns that the SLCPD’s Public Relations Unit will not be staffed 24/7.

Weisberg said it comes down to staffing. 

“We wish we could be 24 hours a day… unfortunately given the staffing of the squad right now, and the staffing of the department, we can’t do that,” Weisberg said.

Burbank disagrees.

“You need somebody who is accessible 24 hours a day because the world happens 24 hours a day, not just conveniently when somebody’s working on the weekend,” Burbank said.

Burbank said he had someone available to answer calls 24/7 when he was chief, and now the department has over 500 sworn officers, the most in its history. 

Always in the past, there’s been full-time public information people. So the question then becomes what are you doing or how are you prioritizing that resource that you have?” Burbank said. 

The release states, “We understand this change will require time to adjust. At the same time, we recognize the importance of adapting to changing demands and needs, when it comes to the volume and complexity of requests we receive.”

“When a governmental agency, I don’t care if it’s the police department, the mayor’s office, or the state government, when they don’t access or respond to the media, the media is left to report what they know: what they can get access to,” Burbank said. “And when the government is poor at providing information or correcting information, well that leaves the wrong story out there.”


We want to hear from you.

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

Crime, Police + Courts

Salt Lake Deputy Police Chief Josh Scharman conducts the grand opening of the Community Connections...

Eric Cabrera

Social workers with Salt Lake Police Department are responding to more callers than ever

The Community Connection Center social workers who work with the Salt Lake Police Department are getting an increase in mental health-related calls, as a result they have grown their team to able to respond to more.

6 hours ago

Chelsea Laycock speaks at a 100 Deadliest Days event at Sugar House Park in Salt Lake City. Her son...

Adam Small

A Utah mother’s plea as the 100 Deadliest Days begin

Chelsea Laycock said not a day goes by when her son, serving time in a Gunnison prison, doesn't wish he'd done things differently.

10 hours ago

Patrick Eller, a data forensic examiner, testifies on the mountain of digital information he analyz...

Collin Leonard,

Defense calls into question electronic, forensic evidence in Chad Daybell murder trial

Chad Daybell's defense called two witnesses to question evidence that would place Daybell on his property during the days after two children were killed.

11 hours ago

A photo taken of Matthew Perry in 2022....

Clayre Scott

Criminal investigation opened in relation to Matthew Perry’s death

A criminal investigation has been opened in relation to Matthew Perry's death due to high levels of ketamine found in his blood.

1 day ago

Dr Kathy Raven, a forensic pathologist testifies about tammy daybell's cause of death...


Forensic pathologist called by defense says Tammy Daybell’s cause of death ‘undetermined’

A forensic pathologist testified in the murder trial of Chad Daybell that the death of his wife, Tammy Daybell, would be best classified as "undetermined."

1 day ago

Police officers were responding Wednesday to a “confirmed active shooter” in a building at the ...

Sam Herrera

Suspect killed after alleged kidnapping in Millcreek

The Unified Police Department said officers got a call about a suspected kidnapping and hostage situation in Millcreek before the officer-involved shooting.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

UPDATE: SLC Police to change protocol for information requests