SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – There is more fall out from Salt Lake County Councilmen Steve Debry’s comments involving homicide and sexual assault cases during Tuesday night’s budget approval meeting.
Mayor Jeff Silvestrini not only handles the city of Millcreek’s affairs but he sits on the board of the Unified Police Department.
“I told you before, I’m not throwing him under the bus,” Mayor Jeff Silvestrini told ABC4 News, Jason Nguyen. “However, I don’t know if I agree with him.”
The Millcreek mayor is in a tough position when it comes to Millcreek’s Unified Chief of Police and District 5 Councilmen Debry’s comments Tuesday Night at the council budget meeting in front of sexual assault victims.
During the meeting, the Councilmen said, “When somebody gets killed; and you got to take someone to court and prosecute them and get them justice served for those people, I would say that is pretty much important or more important than a victim of sexual assault.”
After the exchange, the councilmen explained his position.
“I don’t like hearing cannibalizing a homicide unit to do it because we are funding him appropriately,” said Debry. “That county council felt like he was funded appropriately at this point, and as we proceed down this road we may fund him even more. But I certainly didn’t like that he is cannibalizing his homicide unit.”
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill asked for more sexual assault prosecutors to handle more than 1,700 cases in 2019.
The county approved six fully funded SVU prosecutors, allowing four to be hired now, and two possibly in June of 2020.
“I don’t know that I personally feel comfortable telling Sim Gill how many detectives he needs or prosecutors he needs on different crimes. I would expect as mayor of Millcreek that crimes of sexual violence would be treated seriously, and equally serious as homicides,” said Mayor Silvestrini.
The Millcreek mayor feels all six sexual assault prosecutors should head to work immediately.
“I can tell you from my perspective, I don’t minimize crimes of sexual violence against women or anybody. I don’t minimize homicides either. They are both very serious crimes, and they may be some of the most serious crimes we have and they need to be addressed. So I trust our prosecutor to tell us what resources need to be put in those two areas,” said the Mayor. “I would want to make sure that the Salt Lake County District Attorneys Office gets the resources it needs to prosecute crimes of sexual violence.”
As far as being the Chief of Police in Millcreek Mayor Silvestrini said,
“The context those comments was in budget hearings, so I don’t want to judge him on that. I want to say I have every bit of confidence in Steve Debry as our police chief. I think he does a terrific job for us.”
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