Salt Lake police used force in less than 1% of their 2021 calls, chief says

Salt Lake law enforcement officials used pressure in lower than 1% of the calls they responded to throughout 2021, in line with division statistics launched Friday. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret Information)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake law enforcement officials used pressure in lower than 1% of the calls they responded to throughout 2021, in line with statistics launched by the division on Friday.

Final 12 months, officers used pressure 985 occasions, mentioned Salt Lake Metropolis Police Chief Mike Brown. A “use of pressure” incident, in line with police, can vary from an officer battling an individual resisting arrest, to ordering an individual out of a automotive or a home at gunpoint, to utilizing less-lethal pressure on a suspect.

The statistics don’t embody police shootings or any time an officer fired their gun. Nonetheless, Salt Lake police say there have been solely 4 incidents of officers firing their weapons in 2021, which isn’t sufficient to alter the statistics launched Friday. A report focusing solely on police shootings is anticipated to be launched later this 12 months.

Salt Lake police had 172,536 requires service throughout 2021. Brown mentioned which means officers had to make use of pressure in simply 0.57% of the incidents they responded to. The most typical use of pressure was “bodily,” in line with Brown, which suggests an officer went “palms on” or used their fists, palms or ft — with out using a weapon — to take a suspect into custody.

“Using a weapon by a police officer was very uncommon,” Brown mentioned.

The chief mentioned the use-of-force statistics are much more spectacular contemplating that the variety of folks arrested in 2021 was up almost 5% from the earlier 12 months, the variety of calls police responded to was up 2%, and the variety of folks resisting arrest or who assaulted officers was up greater than 16%.

In 2020, the decision for police reform throughout the nation was at its peak following a number of high-profile shootings and incidents of police brutality. In Salt Lake Metropolis, Mayor Erin Mendenhall signed an govt order protecting seven amendments to police division insurance policies relating to using pressure, search and seizure, and body-worn cameras.

However Brown mentioned Friday that regardless of utilizing pressure in lower than 1% of their calls — and regardless that assaults on officers and the variety of folks resisting arrest is up — his officers aren’t hesitant to “act” and aren’t shying away from harmful conditions.

“I feel it is a mixture of our insurance policies and our deescalation and our coaching,” Brown mentioned of the explanations for fewer use-of-force conditions.

“I feel you have a look at good insurance policies, you have a look at distinctive coaching, I feel you have a look at nice law enforcement officials and the compassion they’re demonstrating and the ways they’re utilizing and the deescalation of occasions which can be going down day by day.”

A few of these ways embody officers taking cowl and sustaining a sure distance from a doubtlessly threatening particular person, thus giving the officer extra time, sending extra officers to a scene — together with a supervisor — to provide officers extra choices for taking an individual into custody, and “slowing down” an lively scene, the chief mentioned.

“As a police division, we’re continuously striving to take a data-driven strategy to policing,” Brown mentioned. That information is then used to make coverage modifications if wanted, determine patterns to extend coaching in some areas, and apply for gear upgrades.

The opposite commonest varieties of pressure Salt Lake police utilized in 2021 embody making use of a restraint referred to as a “wrap” on individuals who had been combative, pointing a firearm at an individual however not taking pictures, and utilizing a Taser.

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