SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – As the temperature rises, Salt Lake City police say they see a rise in crime, which can be particularly challenging when you don’t have enough staff.
Right now, the department has nearly 40 positions to fill. That may sound like a lot, but spokesperson for Salt Lake City Police Brent Weisberg said it is much better than it was a year ago.
“There are a lot of officers across the country who were reevaluating their careers in law enforcement. Law enforcement across the country during that time was really taxed,” said Weisberg.
That timeframe was from 2020 to early 2021. Weisberg said vacancies were roughly double the amount they are currently.
“This is still a part of a rebuilding process for not only law enforcement throughout the country, but certainly here in Salt Lake City,” said Weisberg.
New officers require roughly five months of training. Lateral officers, people who have worked at a different police department, typically need about 13 weeks of training.
“If you can get that influx of lateral officers to come to the department, it can certainly help at an initial phase to raise the staffing levels,” said Weisberg.
The department is looking at ways to be more efficient.
“If there are low-level calls for service and they don’t necessarily need a police officer to respond, those can be handled through a different mechanism,” Weisberg explained.
A few examples included online reporting and a civilian response team, something the city is considering. Weisberg said the goal is to have enough employees so officers can do what they love doing most, being out in the community and helping others.
Weisberg also noted they are seeing an increase in calls by nearly 10 percent compared to this time last year.