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Midvale City questioning future with Unified Police Department

Posted at 8:32 PM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-19 00:38:33-04

MIDVALE, Utah — The City of Midvale is again looking at its partnership with the Unified Police Department and has voted against its proposed budget with the department of $11 million dollars.

UPD currently serves the unincorporated areas of Salt Lake County, along with Copperton, Holladay, Kearns, Magna, Millcreek, White City, and Midvale.

The department was formed in 2010 and has covered Midvale since 2011.

But now because of some issues, the city is exploring what it can do to make positive changes for the future.

“Forty-six percent of our general fund is our fee that we pay to UPD for law enforcement,” Midvale city manager Matt Dahl said. “Clearly, law enforcement is a very important part of our community. But just like every other part of our budget, cost controls are very important.”

In 2011, Midvale’s UPD member fee was $5,321,734. The proposed new number would be $11,786,484 — more than doubling in 12 years.

City officials are very happy with the officers who serve in their community — they say that's not the issue.

"We are very happy with the services that were provided by our local precinct," Dahl said. "We have very dedicated officers, we also receive what are called 'shared services,' which are where the cost benefits from the UWPD model are supposed to come from.”

Shared services are things like human resources, forensics, and the large ability for major investigations.

It is a benefit for those cities that UPD uses. However, Dahl said they should be seeing more cost savings from collaborating together.

“We think that those are part of what helped make this a good service,” he said. "We also think that that's where we're struggling to achieve some of the cost controls.”

A memo draft lists four areas where Midvale City wants to see changes:

  • Voting
  • Shared Service Formula and Transparency
  • Fund Balance
  • Local Branding Emphasis

The complete memo can be read here.

The Midvale City Council will meet Tuesday to discuss the future of the UPD partnership.

"It could range from just sort of saying, 'You know, we were unhappy with the budget process, but we're going to just sort of continue as normal to where maybe we provide more emphasis on those areas where we want to see reform,'" Dahl said.

And while they hope they can work it out, FOX 13 News asked what would happen if they couldn’t come to an agreement.

“We believe in the system, and we're going to work on trying to find a way to make it work," Dahl responded. "And what it could mean if we run into problems making those reforms is something that we'll have to work out with the council in public meetings.”

Midvale also contemplated leaving UPD two years ago.