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Increasing Police Pay and Appreciation

Cynical, anti-cop rhetoric and calls to “defund the police” in 2020 created a toxic policing environment. This toxic environment led to a state-wide police shortage, forcing cities like Draper, to allocate more taxpayer dollars to retain and attract public safety talent.

  • During the 2020 anti-police protests, SLC police officers said they “…were pelted with rocks, manhole covers, a baseball bat, and water bottles.”
  • 21 officers were injured during the
  • After the protests, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall encouraged residents to report. incidences of police misconduct, instead of focusing her rhetoric around supporting the police. This did not sit well with the police union who reported feeling “betrayed.”
  • In the wake of the 2020 protest and some public calls to “defund the police”, Salt Lake City Council voted to slash SLCPD funding by $5+ million.

Over the last year, Salt Lake City has hemorrhaged police officers, putting tremendous strain on the department. local news media has reported a deep “distrust of top political leadership” amongst the SLC police officers.

  • In 2020, the SLC police department saw the departure of 57 officers, 67% of whom
    • In June 2021, local media reported an additional 15 officers quit the SLC department and transferred to a nearby city.

To stop the exodus, Mayor Mendenhall recently announced a 30% pay increase for her officers. This set a new market labor rate. Surrounding cities are now being forced to match SLC’s pay increase or lose police officers to SLC.

  • Draper Police Chief John Eining sums it up nicely: “Salt Lake City had a significant increase in pay. At the time, they had about 80 openings. There are about 120 law enforcement openings in the Salt Lake Valley itself. Salt Lake City hoped to raise pay to attract officers from other If you have that many to fill, it’s easiest to find officers from other departments.”

Draper City is not immune to these market pressures. Recently, I voted with my colleagues on the city council to raise aggregate police pay by nearly $700,000. The goal is to retain our experienced officers and avoid staffing shortages.

The irony is this: shortsighted calls to “defund” the police led to more “funding” for the police.

Moreover, city budgets throughout the valley are now further strained. Ultimately, increased costs will put more pressure on the taxpayer.

Councilman Cal Roberts