Council Message: Examining SLCo Funded Shared Police Services

By Councilmember Sheldon Stewart

Councilman Sheldon StewartWe will celebrate three years since the Riverton Police Department was created on July 1. Since that time, I have received numerous compliments about our department and the type of officers we have serving our community. These are a special group of people that take their job seriously, not only on duty, but off duty as some of you may have seen with Officer Mosher this past month while off duty coming to the aid of a person in need. RPD is a proactive department in seeking out and assisting our residents in need and in keeping our community safe.

What is unique about this department is how we have partnered with our wonderful neighbors in Herriman and South Jordan to create one of the best SWAT teams in the United States. In addition to these services, we have also created with our neighboring cities major incident responses teams for a myriad of areas from major crimes to accident reconstructions. All these enhanced services dedicated to our area with more officers are saving residents more than $2 million a year in property taxes. This totals $6 million in savings since the creation of the Riverton Law Enforcement Service Area. The savings will continue to grow.

There has been a lot of dialogue around a Salt Lake County budget line item tied to “shared services” recently among police agencies in the southwest portion of the county. This item is defined as countywide policing services, but as a city, we have dug further into this line item and found that it is really only benefiting members of the Unified Police Department. As Riverton residents, we pay property taxes to Salt Lake County. They take a portion of our tax dollars and then allocate $3.3 million dollars to Unified Police Department for the stated purpose of countywide policing services.

All the services listed that “shared services” provides, we already offer with the Riverton Police Department. This is a double tax. As Riverton residents, we are paying for officers in Millcreek, Midvale, Holladay, Kearns, or anywhere else that receives police services from the Unified Police Department with the justification that it is because the officer has a secondary assignment of SWAT or another service that we already have in our department.

As a city, we have responded to multiple inquiries regarding these services, and we continue to press the county on this supplement that benefits only members of Unified Police Department. It is important that you let our county representatives know that we don’t agree with subsidizing police services in other communities.

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