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Roy police chief proposes new bill to address officer shortage across Utah

Posted at 4:53 PM, Oct 14, 2021

ROY, Utah — Roy Police Chief Matthew Gwynn says the shortage of officers statewide is a crisis. He believes he has a fix.

Gwynn is also a lawmaker and he believes a new bill he’s proposing will not only bring officers back to work, but he also says this bill is more promising than his last bill.

“We know that we have less people enrolling in the academy. We have less graduating, and between 2011 and 2020, we know that 40% of those that got jobs have left law enforcement. I am seeing a lot of support by former law enforcement officers who would actually come back if this bill were to be successful,” said Gwynn.

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He believes the problem dates back to 2011 when a bill passed by the legislature upped the number of years required for retirement from 20 to 25. It also added a cooling-off period of a year before retirees could return to public service, because of concerns about double-dipping from public payrolls.

“We have people who want to retire from law enforcement, but they want to come back as a teacher. They enjoyed being a school resource officer and now they want to go in the classroom, and we’re telling them they can’t do that,” said Gwynn.

Gwynn tried to pass it last year, but it failed to get anywhere on Capitol Hill.

He says his colleagues in the legislature are more supportive of this new proposal.

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“This bill has already moved farther than my last bill did,” said Gwynn.

This bill goes back to a 20-year system and changes the one year cooling off period to 60 days.

“The five-year additional service requirement went too far, the cooling off period went too far and I am looking to roll those back”

Gwynn says salary increases aren’t enough to solve the problem.

Gwynn says he’s already received unanimous support from the Interim Criminal Justice & Law Committee.