Mayor's Message: The Inaugural Citizen's Academy

Riverton Citizen's AcademyBy Mayor Trent Staggs

Prior to 2019, Unified Police Department (UPD) served the law enforcement needs of Riverton City. After a thorough review of future budget forecasts, staffing levels and coverage, it was determined that Riverton City would be better served by self-providing policing duties. In 2018, Riverton City issued public notice of intent to leave UPD and in July 2019, at a now annual property tax savings of more than $2 million and an addition of 9 officers over what we had with UPD, the Riverton Police Department (RPD) officially took over law enforcement duties in Riverton.

Two years later, RPD continues to be one of the great, if not the greatest, police departments in the state of Utah. This continued success comes at the hands of our excellent police chief, Don Hutson, and his dedicated staff. From the beginning, Chief Hutson has been vocal about his desire to cultivate a police department culture based on community policing principles. Through this model, RPD strives to be service-oriented and focused on meeting the actual needs and concerns of our citizens. Not only do our officers take pride in their day-to-day interactions with the public, they work each and every day to earn the respect and trust of our community.

To further community engagement, RPD will be hosting its very first Citizen’s Police Academy beginning this month. This six-week academy will include educational workshops with topics centered on community policing, daily operations, school resource officers, drug disposal and other topics. The academy will also incorporate a live action scenario as well as firearm and taser trainings. We anticipate offering the academy on a yearly basis.

Chief Hutson clearly states the overall goal of the academy in a recent conversation with me. He said, “It is my hope, following successful completion of the academy, each participant will gain a better understanding of police services and the types of rigorous trainings each officer must go through to be successful. Ultimately, we want our attendees to become ambassadors and advocate for us in the community with a better understanding of challenges we face.”

In a time of unrest and distrust in police services around the country, the Riverton Police Department is a great example of how first responders can and should become an active part of the community. Through the prioritization of hiring experienced officers that have displayed a strong commitment to fair and objective policing, we can ensure our residents continue to receive the very best police services. With the inauguration of the first Riverton City Citizen’s Police Academy, we will continue to engage and build trust within the community. I am proud of RPD and have full trust in their ability to lead, protect and serve Riverton City and ask that you continue to support them in their pursuits.

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