SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – To improve neighborhood safety and address the impact of Operation Rio Grande, Salt Lake City Council proposes adding more police officers to the force.
Salt Lake City Council say they are responding to residents’ concerns that their neighborhoods are becoming less safe. Tuesday, council members endorsed an unprecedented proposal to add up to 50 new police officers to the department’s ranks.
Resident calls to council members about safety-and crime-related issues have risen since police changes were made last August to meet the needs of Operation Rio Grande, which has put a further strain on the already-stretched resources.
“Adding 50 new officers, rather than the 27 recommended by Mayor Biskupski, will bring us closer to national standards in terms of officers per population, and will help achieve the council’s long-time goal of active neighborhood policing,” said Council Vice Chair Charlie Luke who proposed the 50-officer increase.
Luke also says the city’s population nearly doubles each day as workers pour in from surrounding areas.
Council members also say Operation Rio Grande has shown positive result, but officers are overworked and there is greater need for police presence in city neighborhoods.
The increase in officers would require an up to $5 million increase in this fiscal year’s budget, which will likely be considered for action before the end of the year. If the 50-officer increase is approved, the Council will begin exploring those options for increasing revenue to ensure the long-term sustainability of a greater police presence.