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Governor announces policing reforms in response to protests on racial inequality

Weekend protests
Posted at 3:50 PM, Jun 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-11 17:50:10-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Governor Gary Herbert announced a series of sweeping reforms in response to protests over racial inequality and policing.

"We can do better," he said.

The governor noted Utah's historic shifts on LGBTQ rights, a hate crimes law, criminal justice reforms and even diversity in the judiciary. But he said more can be done.

He referenced a meeting he attended with Black community leaders, who shared with him painful stories of experiencing racism and calls for police reforms. He promised a meeting at the first of next month with policy proposals.

"As you can see, we have room for improvement. We can’t ignore it. We can’t say, all is well in our society when these kind of things happen," he said.

Effective immediately, the governor said, he will elevate the directors of Utah's divisions on Multicultural Affairs and Indian Affairs to report to him directly. Implicit bias trainings will be mandated for all levels of state government.

The governor also banned Utah's Department of Public Safety and Utah Department of Corrections from using chokeholds to detain suspects or prisoners. He called on all police agencies across the state to do the same.

On Thursday, Salt Lake City police implemented their own ban.

The governor also acknowledged there were legislative policing reform bills in the works, some of which could be considered in a special session next week.