Restoring the credibility of West Valley City’s police department is the top priority for Margaret Peterson, who announced her candidacy for mayor of Utah's second-largest city this week.
With its drug investigation unit disbanded, more than a hundred cases dismissed by prosecutors and several officers on administrative leave, Margaret Peterson believes it’ll take strong leadership from the mayor to bring the police department back. But she says the city should stop short of a wholesale housecleaning.
“I’m not ready to kick people out and destroy morale at this point," Peterson told KUER. "That could pose an even worse problem than we have now.”
Peterson is a former manager at Salt Lake Community College who now runs West Valley’s after-school programs. She served on the West Valley City Council for 17 years, and she doesn’t like the idea of turning law enforcement over to the county’s Unified Police.
“I was around when the city was formed," Peterson says, "and one of our main objectives was to have our own police department. We believed and found evidence that the city was not being served as well as it could be.”
Mike Winder is expected to seek a second term as mayor of West Valley, but he hasn’t made his formal announcement yet.