Nearly 40 deadly officer-involved shootings in less than 3 years across Utah

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The name of the man killed in Tuesday’s officer-involved shooting in Kearns is expected to be released by the end of the week. This is according to the Unified Police Department.

As we wait, ABC4 is taking a look at the number of deadly officer-involved shootings across the state in recent years.

Over a nearly three-year span, there have been a total of 38 fatal incidents.

So far, there have been eight this year. According to the American Civil Liberties of Union of Utah, there were 11 last year, and 19 in 2018.

Jason Stevenson, the Strategic Communications Manager for the non-profit organization, is tracking the numbers.

“When we started looking at this in 2018 when those numbers started going up and up and reaching a record-breaking number,” said Stevenson. “In 2017, there were only six fatal encounters between police and the public. Jumping three-fold in one year was quite a lot. We obviously are very concerned with any encounter with police that ends in someone dying. It’s a tragedy that should and can be prevented.”

The latest fatal incident was on Tuesday when a chase ended deadly after a routine traffic stop in Kearns.

Unified police said a man in his 30s took off on foot, pointing a gun at an officer while in pursuit. The officer shot and killed him.

“One concern that we have is that we have many different law enforcement agencies across the state,” said Stevenson. “So, even in a year like 2018 where we have 19 fatal encounters, many agencies could look at their own numbers and say well we’re in our norms. There’s nothing wrong going on here.”

The ACLU says it began looking into the issue in 2018 because no one else was.

The non-profit organization believes government agencies don’t track the data because they need “authority from the legislature to do that.”

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