Questions about Riverton City’s relationship with the Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake (UPD) have arisen since the Herriman City Council voted unanimously on May 16 to submit notice of their city’s intent to end their partnership with the department.
As there has been much speculation about how that decision impacts Riverton, the explanation below provides answers from Riverton City’s perspective on various topics.
What do Herriman City’s actions mean for Riverton?
Riverton and Herriman have much in common. The cities share a border and seek to cooperate on all kinds of issues. The Riverton and Herriman UPD precincts share sergeants and one can see some crossover of officer patrols between our two cities. Riverton City leadership is working with UPD to ensure we have a high level of service throughout our entire city both now and when Herriman leaves UPD. As Herriman moves to provide for their own law enforcement, it is the city’s hope that Riverton and Herriman will continue to collaborate, particularly on issues that affect regions near our shared border.
Is Riverton City satisfied with the service received by UPD officers?
Riverton City enjoys a good relationship with UPD and the officers assigned to our Riverton Precinct, and commend those officers for the quality service they provide. The City has felt that we have received adequate coverage and is satisfied with the service levels and work performed by UPD overall.
Does Riverton have a representative on the UPD Board of Directors?
Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs serves as a voting member of the UPD board.
Does Riverton City receive what it pays for with UPD?
After having been in the countywide taxing district since 2012, Riverton City left the Salt Lake Valley Law Enforcement Service Area (SLVESA) taxing district on December 31, 2017. The Riverton Law Enforcement Service Area (RLESA) was created in its place to collect property tax to pay for law enforcement service provided by UPD. Withdrawing from SLVLESA eliminated an increase in property taxes that would have otherwise fallen on Riverton taxpayers, and rolled back the tax levy for the newly formed RLESA to the 2016 levels charged by SLVLESA.
This change in the way Riverton pays for law enforcement service resulted in a savings of over $500,000 in property taxes in 2018 for Riverton taxpayers, versus what would have been paid had the city remained in SLVESA. The change also allowed local officials more control over the UPD service level that is paid for. Riverton’s departure from SLVLESA has also highlighted some challenges with how costs are allocated for pooled services, and prompted a higher level of scrutiny on certain expenses amongst its member entities.
Riverton’s UPD board member and staff are working to address these challenges with UPD to increase transparency, ensure that Riverton taxpayers and residents are receiving the best possible service for the most efficient cost, and are constantly looking for ways to improve the UPD model of regionalized service.
Riverton City officials have not signaled any intent on leaving UPD. Officials do recognize however the need for financial accountability to the taxpayer, particularly in the context of Herriman’s notice to leave UPD. Therefore, The RLESA governing board has directed city staff to conduct a thorough analysis of cost and service for what the city currently receives with UPD versus what the city could offer on its own. It has been over a decade since a similar analysis was conducted. Once an analysis is provided, the city plans to share the results with the public and seek input.