MILLCREEK, Utah – Nicole Razon says her father was racially profiled and beaten by six Unified Police because they didn’t believe he lived in a gated community. That’s why she phoned into a socially distant Millcreek town hall Monday night to advocate for police reform and a reallocation of the police budget.
“As a Millcreek resident with multiple properties, I want to see my now increasing property tax dollars spent on crime prevention, in the way of mental health and youth social services. Not on increasing the disastrous actions of a police force that measures their success on arrests,” Razon said.
It was a sentiment echoed by others who showed up to speak their minds or had their comments read at Millcreek City Hall.
But not everyone during Monday’s two-hour townhall agreed with defunding the police.
Dan Besiso said he had witnessed racial profiling of his friends and believes more training would help solve those problems. However, he also praised the police department for quickly responding to calls.
He also advocates for safeguards for officers who are accused of wrongdoing.
“I would hate to see any of our officers be let go over a brief snippet of video after they’ve put in 18 years or 10 years of service for our community. I think we deserve better than that,” Besiso said.
City councilwoman Silvia Catten said it was important to keep in mind that the reason for townhalls like Millcreek’s is because police officers across the country had killed people, which she found deeply upsetting.
But she also feels there are no easy answers to the issue.
“I don’t think we need to abolish or defund the police necessarily, but there are problems that need to be addressed,” Catten said.
It’s unclear, however, just how much influence the city can have over the Unified Police Department.
Even so, the city will hold another town hall on police reform in the near future.
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