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Heat-related police calls increase as temperatures rise

Posted at 11:58 AM, Jun 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-15 13:58:15-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Extreme heat is affecting nearly every facet of life in Utah, and that includes the number of calls to local police departments.

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Officials with the Salt Lake City Police Department and other agencies say things tend to heat up in terms of the number of calls they receive as temperatures increase.

In one example, police say they received more than 3,600 calls for service they during the first week of June, nearly 1,000 more than they received during the first week of January.

Police are not sure if there’s a scientific explanation for it, but officers are currently very busy from the moment they report for duty.

“That would indicate that, yeah, we’re seeing more calls for service during this time of year and you know, heat may be a factor, may play a role in that,” said Sgt. Keith Horrocks of the Salt Lake City Police Department. “Some of our specialty units, like our motors unit, gangs, our bike units are now call-responsive to help with that just so that we can help bring those response times down.”

On top of the increase in routine calls, any sort of complicated investigation like a homicide or an officer-involved shooting, cases which can take days or weeks to solve, tie up valuable resources.

READ: Extreme heat causes closure of Ogden road lanes

And last but not least, another reminder from police to not leave children or pets in a vehicle outside for any length of time, especially during this heat wave.

“We'll run into a store real quick and think, it’s just going to be a few minutes, but that, sometimes that’s all it takes and you come out to a heat stroke victim of a pet, or heaven forbid a child, then we have a totally different scenario there," said Horrocks.

It only takes a few minutes for the temperature inside of a vehicle, even with the windows down, to reach well into triple digits, which can cause heat stroke and possibly death.