SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) Ever wanted to vent about something? Anything? But, other than family or friends, (and they probably get tired of hearing your complaints), who will listen?
Salt Lake District Attorney Sim Gill will. He sets aside time almost every Friday for something he calls ‘citizens meetings.’
“I’ve always believed that this is not my office,” says Sim. “This belongs to the citizens and every citizen should have access to this institution.”
Gill seems to enjoy these meetings. Topics have included polygamy, medical marijuana, health care and excessive police force.
Sim is ready for anything. “Any issue they want to talk about. If they want to come in and yell at me, they are more than welcome to come in and yell at me.” The gentle, yet passionate prosecutor understands. “It’s their right to yell at me and it’s my privilege to listen to them.”
On the day ABC4 reporter Randall Carlisle observed the ‘citizen meeting’, he was having a private talk with a very tenacious woman named Tarah.
2 years ago she was the victim of a serious identity theft. A thief got into her mailbox and used the information to open 33 different accounts. She called police, but got no help, so she spent several hundred hours tracking down who was doing this.
One name kept appearing. 31 year old Paul Angelo Valencia of Ogden, a man with a long rap sheet for drugs, forgery and parole violation.
She turned all her evidence over to Salt Lake Police and 2 years later nothing had happened. They recently admitted that they dropped the ball and are now actively pursuing the case.
Tarah scheduled a meeting with Sim Gill just to make sure the case is on track.
“It went great,” she says taking a big sigh, “I felt listened to for the first time ever since the beginning of this case.”
She had a long talk with the prosecutor and showed him all the evidence she collected and shared how police had let her case gather dust.
Gill seemed genuinely concerned with her plight. “On behalf of law enforcement, I want to apologize to her for the experience that she felt.”
And he seemed to indicate that something is going to happen. “My heart goes out to her that it’s taken this long. I think there’s going to be some light at the end of the tunnel.”
Tarah, who has every right to be angry with law enforcement, is hopeful now. “Sim took me seriously. He seemed like he actually cared that I was a victim in this case. Now I feel like something is going to get done.”
She adds, “he takes notes. He asks questions. He’s fantastic. I’m really grateful.”
DA Gill says this is a great example of how the simple act of talking can help ease a situation. That’s why he does this.
If you want to schedule a one on one with Sim Gill, call 385-468-7600. That’s the central number for his office. You need to say you want to schedule a citizen meeting with Gill.
Who says politicians don’t listen?