SALT LAKE CITY — It’s been a rough couple of years for law enforcement departments around the country and here in Utah. As agencies are finding it increasingly difficult to retain existing staff and to recruit new officers.
But the Salt Lake Police Department says they’re off to a great start in 2022.
More than two dozen new recruits began their journey to serve and protect the Salt Lake community, Monday morning.
Between officers retiring, jumping to other departments or in some cases resigning, Salt Lake PD has been down dozens of officers over the past year and a half. Right now, there are more than 30 open positions. But chief Mike Brown says this new class of recruits will get them back to near full strength.
This diverse group of men and women will hit the streets later this summer following intensive training which will include knowledge of firearms, community relations, defensive tactics and crisis intervention.
Recruits like US Army veteran Manuel Gonzales says he can’t wait.
“Today is our first day in this process and we’re very proud to be here," Gonzalez said. “We’re here to serve, we’re here to protect the community and we’re here to enforce the law.”
Chief Mike Brown said he’s thrilled to welcome his newest class of recruits. He also hopes he can be an inspiration to them.
In particular because he is someone who reached the rank of chief after starting out as a recruit, just like these individuals, 30 years ago.
Chief Brown said filling all open positions is a top priority for him and the department, and said SLCPD will be up to full staff by the end of June.
These recruits begin their 24 weeks of training today.