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House Speaker Brad Wilson backs a trio of police reform bills

Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson is throwing his support behind three police reform bills. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson is throwing his support behind three police reform bills. 

Three bills to reform policing in Utah 

One bill, HB162, would require 16 of the 40 hours of training police officers are required to complete each year to be focused on de-escalation tactics. There would also be training on working with individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis.

Another, HB84, would require local law enforcement agencies to collect and submit data on use-of-force incidents to the Bureau of Criminal Identification, a state and federal database. 

Lastly, HB59, would enact criminal penalties for police, as well as prosecutors, for misuse of evidence. The bill would make it a class A misdemeanor for a first offense, or a third-degree felony for each subsequent offense. 

“I’ll be voting for them”

The two Democratic lawmakers sponsoring the bills, Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, and Rep. Andrew Stoddard, D-Sandy, joined Wilson on Wednesday to answer questions about the various bills. 

“Lawmakers all have different perspectives, but we are going to make, I think, a lot of progress this year in this space,” explains Wilson. “I support these bills. They’re good policies that we need to advance. So I’ll be voting for them.”

According to Wilson, lawmakers are focusing on targeted issues, including education, mental health and housing, rather than passing sweeping reforms.

“We want to talk about getting at the roots of some of these problems,” he explains. “We do know that expanding opportunities in health, education and housing are important. But that’s not going to be enough, right? We need to provide opportunities for law enforcement and our public safety officials to do and receive the training that they need to do their jobs well. We care about this regardless of where in the state we’re from or what party we come from or how long we’ve been here.”