SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera is having a say in the nationwide conversation on police reform.
Rivera is a member of a task force on policing organized by the Council on Criminal Justice.
The panel is comprised of individuals from several backgrounds including law enforcement, community activism and civil rights.
“We are trying to take a look at police reform as something we have to work with our communities,” Rivera said.
Members of the task force meet virtually to give their input and dissect crime lab data before recommending policy reforms to lawmakers.
More than two dozen topics, including use of force, are being discussed.
Rivera believes facts and evidence should be the driving force behind any large-scale changes instead of knee-jerk reactions.
“You’re finding, individuals are acting on emotion and we’re making decisions and changing policy based off emotion. When you do that, that may not be the right way to make long-term decisions,” Rivera said. “I like the direction they are going when you talk about evidence and data and research to make good decisions.”
As some community activists amplify calls to defund police departments, Rivera hopes people take a deeper look.
“With law enforcement, we are being asked to do a lot. Many times, we aren’t the right person to respond to a certain call,” Rivera said. “Various officer safety issues come up when you defund the police.”
As a vocal member of this team, she hopes solutions can be found that strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the citizens they serve.
“We have to get this right,” Rivera said. “We have to get police reform right. We have to make sure our communities trust us.”