Salt Lake City, Utah – Protests and riots broke out across the country a year ago after the death of George Floyd. This disturbance later spread to Salt Lake City.
Police Chief Mike Brown and other city leaders called for peace, while images of a burning police car that had capsized and a large angry crowd appeared live.
Brown sat down with KSL-TV after nearly a year of riots to ponder the day that changed Salt Lake City and its administration.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Mike Brown of the Salt Lake City Police Department. “We had protests and we had small civil unrest, but nothing like what we saw on May 30th.”
This weekend will be one year since the riots in the city center.
“We were not prepared for what we got,” Brown said.
This weekend marks one year into riots in downtown Salt Lake City. Today, slcpdChiefMikeBrown spoke to me exclusively about that day, what has changed since then, police reform, and the challenges faced by the more than 40 officers who left the department in the past year. @ KSL5TV at 10 pm pic.twitter.com/rvguZKtIDj
– Alex Cabrero (@KSL_AlexCabrero) May 27, 2021
He faced criticism for not sending officers to the scene of the accident faster.
Looking back, we ask him if he feels any regrets.
“I won’t say any regrets. I think you are progressing and learning, and if you didn’t learn from those mistakes or things you could have done better, that’s where regret will come.”
After that day, Brown said his department had changed its planning and would immediately engage in any future protests involving violence or sabotage.
When another protest spiraled out of control at the prosecutor’s office a few weeks later, the police were ready.
“From the announcement of that illegal gathering until we shut it down and got people out, (it took) 18 minutes,” Brown said. “This is a stark difference.”
In all, Brown said his officers dealt with nearly 300 protests and rallies in 2020.
Most of them were peaceful, but they requested a constant police presence.
“We had to put people under explanation and prepare, and then we suspended vacation and vacation days,” Brown said. “A lot of the officers were unable to do the things they wanted to do with their families.”
the influence? Retirement or resignation of officers.
In late May, Brown said the Salt Lake City Police Department dropped 45 officers.
Some of the more than 40 officers who left slcpd in the last year said they did not feel supported by the division. I asked ChiefMikeBrown about that, too. We covered a lot of topics today and nothing was off the table. Our story spins tonight @ KSL5TV 10 o’clock #ksltv pic.twitter.com/X7pKhPnDrz
– Alex Cabrero (@KSL_AlexCabrero) May 27, 2021
Even though there are more than 30 new officers in training, crime statistics have increased. However, Brown assured the audience is safe.
“They are safe, and let me tell you why. We give priority to our calls,” Brown said. “When something comes, if it is a person-to-person crime and it is active and ongoing at the moment, it will spread everywhere, and officers all over the city will abandon what they are doing and respond to it.”
However, the Salt Lake Commission for Racial Equality said there must be a change in the way officers interact with people, especially people of color.
One of the recommendations was to appoint more officers of color, especially in leadership positions, and to retrain all officers in diversity and mental health.
Brown said this was happening.
“As we get more officers in our department, we’ll have more time to do these things, but these things are a priority and these are things that people want,” Brown said.
The president also said he’s proud of the work the ministry has done in the past year, not just with the protests, but with COVID-19, the earthquake, the windstorm, the vice president’s discussion, and on the nearly 123,000 calls to service the department had in 2020.
“Everything that happened in 2020, the police reform, the police, will never be the same. But it’s okay because it will be better,” Brown said.
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