Utah

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Be sure to check out the Next Steps at the bottom of the page. Go to the References/Further Reading page to see our sources and do some research of your own.

Last updated Jan. 20, 2020

Summary

Key:

Legislation Achieved

Some Progress

No Progress

  • Demilitarization

    Yes
    Yes
    Yes
    Yes

    No knock warrants
    1033 program
    Military-style training
    SWAT data

    Utah a

  • For Profit Policing

    Yes
    Yes
    Yes
    Yes

    Civil asset forfeiture
    Quotas
    Cost of misconduct

    Utah b

  • Broken Windows Policing

    Minor offenses
    Objective justification for stops
    Reporting stop details

    Utah c

  • Accountability

    Yes
    Yes
    Yes
    Yes

    Reckless civil rights violation
    Independent investigation
    Qualified immunity

    Utah d

  • Reinvesting in Communities

    Mental health response

    Education, housing, and community health resources

    Utah e

Demilitarization

Learn about demilitarization and the specific issues below on the Demilitarization page (opens in a new window).

 

No knock warrants

Some Progress:

In 2015, Utah passed SB 82 to restrict the use of no-knock warrants by local departments. Both bills raised the standard needed to receive this type of warrant and codified protocols to acquire them.

Pending Legislation: HB. 245, introduced in January 2021,further limits the time of day and situational requirements for the use of no-knock warrants

1033 purchases

Some Progress:

Utah has not prohibited participation in the 1033 program, but the state does have a system in place mandating all 1033 equipment requests be approved by a state coordinator prior to transfer.

Military style training

No Progress:

Utah has not yet enacted a law refocusing training away from self-defense responses and towards community centered training like that offered by Blue Courage. However, some local departments, such as Salt Lake City PD, have shifted away from self-defense training in favor of an emphasis on fair and impartial policing.

SWAT data

Achieved:

The State of Utah collects records of SWAT team deployments by local departments. These reports are available to the public upon request.

For Profit Policing

Learn about for profit policing and the specific issues below on the For Profit Policing page (opens in a new window).

 

Civil asset forfeiture

No Progress:

Utah has not yet enacted a law ending civil asset forfeiture. Past efforts in the legislature stalled in both chambers.

Quotas

Achieved:

A bill passed on March 19, 2018 banned punishment or sanctions for officers not handing out a certain amount of tickets. The bill also banned quotas for arrests. Any discipline, reward, or incentive for officers to increase their arrests or ticketing is also prohibited under this new law.

Cost of misconduct

No Progress:

Utah has not yet enacted a law requiring police departments (not state general funds) to cover the cost of misconduct.

Broken Windows Policing

Learn about broken windows policing and the specific issues below on the Broken Windows Policing page (opens in a new window).

 

Minor offenses

No Progress:

Utah has not yet enacted a law decriminalizing minor offenses that do not threaten public safety such as spitting and loitering.

Objective justification for stops

No Progress:

Utah has not yet enacted a law requiring officers to establish objective justification for making a stop (i.e. not simply for furtive movement, suspicious activity, or matching a generalized description). On May 14, 2019 legislation was passed that allowed officers to stop and question anyone if they suspect said person has just committed or has reason to commit a crime.

Reporting stop details

No Progress:

Utah has not yet enacted a law requiring comprehensive reporting of police stops (noting location, race, gender, whether force was used and whether a firearm was found).

Pending Legislation: HB. 84, introduced in January 2021, requires all local law enforcement offices to collect and submit comprehensive use of force data to the Utah Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Accountability

Learn about accountability and the specific issues below on the Accountability page (opens in a new window).

 

Reckless civil rights violation

No Progress:

Utah has not yet enacted a law lowering the prosecution requirement from ‘willful’ to ‘reckless’ deprivation of another’s rights.

Independent investigation

No Progress:

Utah has not yet enacted a law institutionalizing an independent prosecutor within the state’s Department of Justice for instances of police misconduct. In practice, few cops in Utah are accused of a crime, and even less are convicted. In the past decade, only 3 cops faced charges for shooting at a person and none were convicted.

Qualified immunity

No Progress:

Utah has not yet enacted a law ending qualified immunity.

Reinvesting in Communities

Learn about reinvesting in communities and the specific issues below on the Reinvesting in Communities page (opens in a new window).

 

Mental health response

No Progress:

Utah has not yet enacted a law creating and funding a mental health task force available to respond to crisis calls (in lieu of police). Locally, Utah Mental Health Response: Salt Lake City established the Community Connection team in 2016 where social workers engage in ride-alongs with police officers. The organization works closely with the Salt Lake Police department to help with housing, finances, transportation, and employment opportunities for people in need. Between 2016 and 2017, seven thousand people were reportedly helped by this organization.

Education, Housing, Community Health Resources

No Progress:

It is important to note that policing does not address the roots of social disadvantage and barriers to (economic) opportunity that often lead to crime. Nor should police be burdened with that responsibility.
Without access to quality resources in healthcare, education, and housing, our cities, neighborhoods, and families will continue to suffer. We should instead reassess the budgets of the state government and reinvest in the services that matter most.

Next Steps

No matter what, register to vote:

Contacting officials is just one piece of the puzzle we can't stop there. We need to make sure our elected officials reflect our values and support reform at every level of government. Register here:

To keep these policies at the forefront:

Keep emailing about them (if you just finished the 5 Days Challenge, keep up the schedule—set reminders in your phone to email about each issue on its specific day).

To ask for more than this:

Use our templates as a model to ask for bigger changes. Color for Change and The Movement for Black Lives both have specific policy related to a reimagined law enforcement system. If you think there are additional policies we ought to consider, send your thoughts our way.

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