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South Salt Lake Police chief wants more staff to work with citizens review board

South Salt Lake’s City Hall is pictured on Friday, Oct. 9, 2020. Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah — South Salt Lake is in the middle of putting together a citizens review board that will look into use of force issues in the police department. South Salt Lake Police Chief Jack Carruth wants more staff to help with that. 

Carruth told the city council last week that he wants to establish a Professional Conduct and Standards Unit to increase transparency on use of force issues. 

“Right now, we’re just going by self-reporting of officers and what the on-duty supervisor catches,” Carruth said. “Essentially, by establishing the Professional Conduct and Standards Unit, we’re creating more accountability.”  

Carruth wants to hire a lieutenant and a crime analyst to work with the South Salt Lake civilian review board, as well as see another assistant city attorney. 

He feels more staff would ensure that current officers don’t become overburdened and the review board can get the information they need. 

“We’re somewhat at a tipping point right now to where the needs of the city have increased significantly enough that our current crime analyst is extremely taxed with keeping up with the city’s needs and the police department needs,” Carruth said.  

He also said a Professional Conduct and Standards Unit would be similar to what other cities have.

The problem some council members see is the price tag. 

If approved, the city could spend up to $500,000 on both the citizen’s review board and the new police staff to start, as well as an additional $300,000 per year in ongoing expenses.

Some council members were concerned about how to pay for the extra staff during last week’s meeting, while others want to ensure the review board and the police department remain separate. 

The council will take up the issue again in a few weeks.