Riverton City Council declares intent to withdraw from Unified Police Department

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RIVERTON, Utah -- Less than two months after stating they intended to remain with Unified Police, the Riverton City Council called an emergency meeting Thursday morning and voted to announce their intent to withdraw.

Riverton City announced the emergency meeting Wednesday evening, and Thursday morning the council voted to withdraw from Unified Police. The vote was unanimous.

Riverton City stated back in May that they intended to remain with Unified Police even after their neighboring community of Herriman was leaving. Unified Police provides services to various cities and unincorporated areas in Salt Lake County.

According to a press release, the city declared their intent to withdraw from UPD within 12 months but says the council did so with the understanding they may recommit to UPD if the agency is able to address their concerns.

The city states the urgency behind the move came in response to them finally receiving information about specific changes to an agreement between UPD and its member communities. They said they received that information Wednesday and determined those changes could have a negative impact on Riverton City taxpayers.

“It made me really nervous to know that the UPD Board would be considering such substantial changes to our agreement during a time when we are actively trying to resolve some very important concerns,” Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs stated. “Our major concerns are about transparency, governance, and in ensuring our residents are getting what they pay for. We must be able to work out these concerns if we stay with UPD. I truly don’t believe we would have been able to do that if we didn’t signal our intent to leave before the Board adopted changes to the agreement, boxing us in to a potentially bad deal for our taxpayers.”

City leaders said it wasn't the service from the officers in their area that was the issue, but rather the details of the contract. The full audio of the meeting is available on the city's website, here or in the player embedded below.

“Let me be clear, we have the upmost confidence in and respect for the UPD officers who serve our city so well,” Mayor Staggs stated. “Our concerns do not lie with service received from local officers but with the administrative and governance levels of UPD.”

At a UPD board meeting held later Thursday, UPD ultimately tabled the proposed changes to the agreement with member communities and city officials plan to work with UPD to determine if there is a path that will keep Riverton a part of UPD.

Riverton City said they understand the need for public discourse and will be providing opportunities to educate the public and solicit their feedback in the coming weeks.

Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera, who heads UPD, said she was concerned how quickly the city moved to make this vote and said she hopes they can work with the city to resolve their concerns.

"I know we can get things fixed, but when you're doing emergency meetings and you're voting in a matter of seconds with no public comment, that's what concerns me," Rivera said.  "But we have patience. I'm sure the residents of Riverton will come out and speak for themselves."

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