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Utah County Sheriff writes letter to explain policing policies

Response to calls from citizens
Posted at 12:28 PM, Jun 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-04 14:28:57-04

PROVO, Utah — In the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, people around the country are now questioning the practices of their own local law enforcement agencies, including here in Utah.

The Utah County Sheriff’s Office says in the last few weeks it has received several questions from the community and Sheriff Mike Smith decided to address them with a letter posted to Facebook Thursday morning.

In the letter, Smith goes over the policing practices of the sheriff’s office including topics like the use-of-force review, training for his office, community policing and involvement.

It states that all law enforcement members go through de-escalation training and training that prohibits discriminating against anyone for any reason.

The sheriff also addresses body cameras, saying his office currently does not have them but that he's been working very hard trying to secure money for them in order to make the community and his team feel more safe and make sure everyone is held accountable.

He said now it's only a matter of funding.

"If we we really want, if we really believe there’s a problem and we need the best officers out there we need funding to train those officers to be the best officers," Sheriff Smith said. "We need funding to get the equipment that provides transparency to the public.”

Smith added that in any job, there are going to be good people and bad people, so he thinks it's unfair to categorize a whole group or organization as bad.

He goes on to say that his office is doing the best it can to train its staff properly, and protect the community while also being transparent.

If you'd like to read the full letter and leave a comment, go to the Utah County Sheriff's Office Facebook page.