As a member of the policing profession for the last 36 years, I am extremely disappointed in the police response that resulted in the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month and the ensuing violence and property destruction. As a society, we must be able to come together and address difficult issues peacefully. I support peaceful protests as a way to redress grievances with the government.
Over the course of the last few weeks, I have received letters and emails from residents both supporting our police officers and expressing concerns and wanting additional information about training, use of force, and bias. We have also heard from residents asking what they can do to help. I am grateful that residents care enough to reach out. We welcome and value your opinions and I am taking this opportunity to answer some of your most pressing questions and concerns here.
South Jordan was proactive in its introduction of body cameras in 2015, which has helped ensure the safety of the public and police officers while providing additional insight into policing in our community. Our entire patrol division and traffic unit are equipped with body cameras.
In 2017, we introduced formal use-of-force reporting, which includes an automatic early intervention warning system. All use of force is reviewed by a supervisor and police administration. Officers have a duty to intervene when another officer’s use of force is inappropriate. Chokeholds are not used by the South Jordan Police Department and we train on arrest control tactics that ensure the safety of those being taken into custody.
Police Training, De-escalation and Bias
Our police officers take a minimum of 40 hours of training each year, which includes training on de-escalation strategies and more recently, implicit bias training. We will continue to train to improve how we serve our community. Our expectation through such training is that the law is enforced objectively and fairly without discrimination of any group or individual. We are also committed to listening and talking with members of the public in an effort to fully understand each situation.
Culture and Hiring Practices
We follow four core values that ensure we stay on our mission to provide professional police services: character, competence, trust and transparency. We hire people with those traits in mind and look for people who are committed to principles of community policing.
Our police department accepts all complaints regarding our service and promptly investigates any allegations of inappropriate conduct. Anyone wishing to make a complaint can call our help line at (801)-446-4357 or stop by the police department at 10655 South Redwood Road.
How You Can Help
I ask that all residents become involved in their community. Becoming involved in a Neighborhood Watch group or just calling the police when you see suspicious activity are immediate ways to help. Participating in public forums to discuss policing or asking to meet with me to discuss issues or concerns are welcome. I will always try to address your concerns promptly. We are fortunate to have a low crime rate in South Jordan, but we are not immune from serious criminal activity. We welcome and look forward to seeing more of you participate in our collective public safety efforts.
We know we aren’t perfect and we are always looking for ways to improve. We believe engaging with our community and involving residents are essential to those continuing improvements and a successful police department.
On behalf of the police department, thank you for your support and engagement in the City and with us.
– Jeff Carr, South Jordan Chief of Police