SALT LAKE CITY — A state audit, released Monday, criticized Salt Lake County’s Unified Police Department’s transparency regarding what cities pay for, and now a former Salt Lake Co. sheriff is disputing its claims, specifically that there isn’t enough oversight on the Sheriff.
In a news conference addressing the audit, former Salt Lake Co. Sheriff Jim Winder said, “I’m very proud of the work that the staff of the Unified Police Department did during the course of my tenure.”
The audit would go on to criticize the structure and effectiveness of UPD, stating, “Without adequate information, neither the Board, its Members, nor the citizens which UPD serves can hold UPD accountable for effective and efficient operations.”
Both Herriman and Riverton have recently announced they were leaving the UPD but Winder believes the fleeing cities are making a mistake by cutting ties. Winder believes those cities are doing it so they can pull more money out of UPD.
Winder says, “They believe there is some additional revenues that they can take with them to fund the start-up [of their own police department]. If you’ve got to start a police department from scratch, where do you think that money comes from?”
Winder points to the Cottonwood Heights Police department, and he claims forming that office cost taxpayers a lot of money.
He adds, “They built them a Taj Mahal up there. They spent money on motorcycles and you name it, all because they wanted to have their own patch on their arms.”
He also believes current leadership needs to be more vocal in telling cities not to break away from the department. However, current Sheriff Rosie Rivera says that’s exactly what she has been doing.
“I just feel like he hasn’t been in all the meetings I’ve been in, and I have stood up. But, the cities have a right, and if they want to pull out, they can. We are fighting hard to keep them,” Rivera says.
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