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Proposed bill could improve safety for code enforcement officers

WEST VALLEY CITY – A lawmaker from West Valley says code enforcement officers have a potentially extremely dangerous job, and she’s drafting a ill that could help them better protect themselves

After the murder of West Valley Code Enforcement Officer Jill Robinson, Senator Karen Mayne started investigating how different cities let their code officers protect themselves.  Some have strict policies… other don’t.  Some let their officers carry a weapon… others don’t.

“We needed something in place that they could all have protection and have the same standards,” Mayne says.

If her bill were to pass, Mayne says the first change would be that code officers would be connected to the city’s police dispatch.

“So, if they’ve got an issue, they can call immediately and they don’t go through 911.  They do exactly what a police officer does,” she says.

Plus, these workers would be armed with at least pepper spray, and they would have body armor available during especially dangerous situations.  Also, officers would be able to look into the history of the house before they make their visit.

“Whose house am I going to?  How many times has an officer been there?  Have the police been called?”

There are several cities that already meet the criteria set in the bill.  If local governments want to have guidelines that are even more strict than the ones Mayne suggests, she says those cities are welcome to have them.

“Many of them have [stricter] standards, and they can do that.  The decision making is left to the cities and towns,” she says.