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

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

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SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake cops used pressure in lower than 1% of the calls they responded to throughout 2021, in keeping 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 keeping with police, can vary from an officer fighting an individual resisting arrest, to ordering an individual out of a automobile or a home at gunpoint, to utilizing less-lethal pressure on a suspect.

The statistics don’t embrace police shootings or any time an officer fired their gun. Nevertheless, Salt Lake police say there have been solely 4 incidents of officers firing their weapons in 2021, which isn’t sufficient to vary 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 meaning officers had to make use of pressure in simply 0.57% of the incidents they responded to. The commonest use of pressure was “bodily,” in keeping with Brown, which implies an officer went “palms on” or used their fists, palms or toes — with out the usage of 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 individuals arrested in 2021 was up practically 5% from the earlier 12 months, the variety of calls police responded to was up 2%, and the variety of individuals 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 masking seven amendments to police division insurance policies relating to the usage of 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 despite the fact that assaults on officers and the variety of individuals resisting arrest is up — his officers are usually not hesitant to “act” and are usually not shying away from harmful conditions.

“I believe 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 believe you take a look at good insurance policies, you take a look at distinctive coaching, I believe you take a look at nice cops and the compassion they’re demonstrating and the techniques they’re utilizing and the deescalation of occasions which can be going down day-after-day.”

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

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

The opposite most typical varieties of pressure Salt Lake police utilized in 2021 embrace making use of a restraint generally known as a “wrap” on individuals who had been combative, pointing a firearm at an individual however not capturing, and utilizing a Taser.

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