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Salt Lake City hiring more police officers, targeting repeat offenders in effort to reduce violent crime

Posted at 11:27 AM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-07 13:48:57-04

SALT LAKE CITY — At a news conference Tuesday morning, Salt Lake City's mayor and police chief said officers are working hard to drive down crime in the city, but they acknowledged several challenges.

Mayor Erin Mendenhall and Police Chief Mike Brown said gun violence this past holiday weekend highlighted the need to do more.

On Saturday, two teenagers were shot and critically wounded. Both are expected to survive and police have made two arrests.

READ: Man arrested at SLC airport for unruly behavior on flight

And early Monday morning, a middle-aged man was shot multiple times in front of his own home. He is expected to survive but the suspect remains unidentified and the motives unclear.

City officials pointed to these examples as reasons why they continue to hire more officers. They hope that an increase in the number of cops on the street will decrease both call response times and violence in Salt Lake City.

“Recent incidents have reminded us that there is still much more work to do," said Mayor Erin Mendenhall. "I’m not satisfied. I don’t think Chief Brown is satisfied."

"I can’t speak for the city Council but I don’t believe the city Council is satisfied either," Mendenhall added. "Our goal is to continue to send a clear message that crime is not welcome in Salt Lake City and we’re going to act swiftly and strategically to prevent it."

“As the police chief, my number one priority is to ensure the safety of our community and our police officers are doing that every day. For that I thank them," Chief Mike Brown said.

Chief Brown also directly addressed younger people in the community, "It is time to put down your guns! Too many lives are being impacted in our city because of firearms.”

City officials said violent crimes are usually committed by repeat, habitual offenders.

The mayor and police chief said they’ve also been working closely with federal agents and prosecutors to target those so called “high impact” offenders and to arrest and indict them. Thus, hopefully getting them off the streets for long periods of time.

Later this month, Mayor Mendenhall said she will have an update on how that effort is working.