SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) Don’t be surprised to wake up one morning in the near future and hear about a massive law enforcement sweep of the crime infested Rio Grande neighborhood around the downtown homeless shelter.
ABC 4’s Randall Carlisle tracked down a high level, closed door meeting held on Monday at an office across the street from the shelter.
The location had not been announced publicly and when Carlisle showed up with his photographer, they put up a board in the outside window to block what was going on inside.
Federal, state, county and city law officers and politicians were there along with homeless service providers and advocates.
Just some of the big names there: Attorney General Sean Reyes, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, Salt Lake Police Chief Mike Brown, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, homeless advocate Pamela Atkinson, the new homeless czar Lt. Governor Spencer Cox, the general for “Operation Rio Grande”, House Speaker Greg Hughes was on the phone from a legislative conference in Boston.
When the main characters were leaving they told Carlisle some vague things like “We’re putting the final touches on a plan.” “We’re getting close.” “We had a great meeting.”
The only person who would reveal anything substantive from the 4 hour meeting was the man who called it, Lt. Governor Cox.
He implied the crackdown will happen as soon as they find a place to put all the people they arrest for crimes and to treat all the people who need help. Cox says “those are the final pieces we are working on.”
He says “Operation Rio Grande” will happen, “sooner than later.” Which could mean in just days.
Carlisle accused him of being evasive. “I am being evasive and that’s for a good reason,” says the homeless czar. “Lots of people watch the news including the bad guys, so that’s not something I’m at liberty to talk about. We’re not going to advertise when it’s going to happen, but it will happen.”