TAYLORSVILLE, Utah (ABC4) — The Taylorsville City Police Department launched at midnight Monday night after a yearlong transition period.
“We’re day one and we’re ready to go to get back out there and get back to work,” Sgt. Jeff Smith of the Taylorsville Police Department said.
The launch comes after city leaders decided to end their contract with the Unified Police Department last summer after eight years working with them.
“We wanted to have more local control over many things like the decisions we make over the budget. There are so many elements that we feel need to be tailored to our community and to the community’s needs. We have different needs throughout our city, so we really wanted to tailor it to our community, and we can retain local control and make decisions that are the best for our city,” Mayor Kristie Overson said.
The City of Taylorsville wanted to have more local control over police services, policy, and budgeting.
“We hope that this will feel like their police department, like Taylorsville, our community’s police department,” Mayor Kristie Overson said.
A Project Management Team made up of administrators and staff with the city, met weekly over the past year to help figure out what the new department needs.
After a competitive interview process with 289 applicants, 63 people were handpicked from agencies near and far to join the department.
“A large percentage of the people who came on were completely known to the people they were selected by. They worked with them, they know how they work, they know the quality of the work they put out. There’s not an unknown like ‘well I’m not really sure about this person we know,” Sgt. Smith said.
Some of the ideas that are already being discussed include internal investigations, a civilian advisory board, and training of ‘less-than lethal’ force.
“This came at a nice time. Last year things were troubled in our community, in the valley, in the state, across the country, and so we thought this was a really good time to say, ‘wait a minute, let’s slow down’ and ‘what can we do to make this the best for our residents, so that’s why we decided on the move,” Mayor Kristie Overson said.
One of the main goals is to meet the specific needs of the 61,000 residents in Taylorsville. The new department will work closely with city administration and civic leaders to ensure proper policing and that checks and balances are in place.
“Any issues that the community is seeing they can bring forward and then take that to our department administration and address those issues,” Sgt. Smith said.
ABC4 News reached out to Unified Police Department to see how they’re holding up after the separation but has yet to hear back.
However, when the announcement was made a year ago, a sheriff with the department said the separation will have a “measurable impact” on their department, including a reduction in size.