Public safety is the number one responsibility of government. It is imperative that we keep our neighborhoods safe and see crime rates fall year after year.
In order to improve public safety, we must reform our criminal justice system. No one who has committed a crime should become a repeat offender. Our system must prioritize rehabilitation over punishment in order to reduce recidivism and make our streets safer.
When someone enters the criminal justice system, that moment should be the beginning of their personal transformation. This should be the type of criminal justice system we create.
In order to do so, we need to look at serious changes to how we conduct policing, the court system, and incarceration.
#1 Build trust between officers and the community
Officers and members of the community should know each other, be on a first name basis, and feel comfortable engaging in constructive dialogue. This level of familiarity will work to de-escalate tension and build trust while keeping police more informed on potential issues in the community.
#2 Empower Police to de-escalate
There are many opportunities for reform that will keep our officers more safe, decrease crime in our communities, and improve the overall system. We need to significantly increase the amount of de-escalation training that police officers receive. This is not to say police aren’t well trained, but it is to say that we need to provide all of the knowledge and skills possible to those who put their lives on the line everyday to make sure that they return home every night.
#3 Incentivize and retain the best people to become officers
We can increase officer pay and benefits to attract top talent while increasing the training that officers receive. We expect the best from our officers and they should be compensated the best for their service. In Salt Lake County, we have the opportunity to pioneer a new type of policing that can be a model for police departments throughout the nation and around the world.
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