By Chief Don Hutson
As part of the Riverton Police Department’s ongoing effort to identify services which may be beneficial to our community, we recently unveiled our Safe Exchange Zone program to assist members of our community to feel a little safer while conducting property or custody exchanges.
As the popularity of online commerce continues to increase, we recognized the need to provide a public location where people can meet to conduct transactions and feel more secure. We have designated two well-marked parking stalls immediately in front of our police station at 12810 S Redwood Road and identified this location as our Safe Exchange Zone.
This is a highly visible, well-lit area and is under 24-hour recorded video surveillance. It is also visible to officers as they perform their duties at the police station.
Additionally, if a person is concerned they may be buying stolen property, they may request a police officer meet them and check available databases to ensure the property being exchanged has not been reported stolen. The proximity of the exchange zone makes it far more convenient for our officers to provide this service.
This area could also be utilized by disputing parties or for custodial transfers which have the potential to escalate. Traditionally, these situations, often referred to as “keep the peace” calls, have occurred in less controlled environments. Providing a designated and monitored area for these situations will mitigate the potential risk for all involved parties.
Of course, there is always the possibility that things can go wrong even when steps have been taken to minimize risk. We encourage all our residents to use caution whenever they are conducting business with unknown persons. When possible, always bring someone along to avoid being alone, do not get in a stranger’s vehicle, and do not hesitate to call our dispatch center if something seems suspicious.
We hope this program will benefit our citizens, and we look forward to seeing you in “The Zone” soon.