Public Safety

KUER Local News stories about public safety.

shahram sharif via Wikimedia Commons

The Salt Lake City Council has agreed to move forward with a proposal to require all sexual assault evidence kits in the Salt Lake City Police Department’s custody be tested. The decision comes despite objections from Police Chief Chris Burbank.

The city council made it clear at its Tuesday night work session that it wants more from the Salt Lake City Police Department—more information, more processing of evidence, more transparency and more cooperation.

Brian Grimmett

The home destroyed in last month’s landslide in North Salt Lake was finally demolished Wednesday.

Members of the Utrilla family stood and watched as backhoes ripped into their home. Every few minutes the work would stop and someone would run onto the pile of rubble to recover an item left behind. The home was destroyed early in the morning on August 5th after a landslide pushed it off of its foundation.

Brian Grimmett

North Salt Lake City officials updated residents Thursday evening about the plan to mitigate the effects of the landslide that occurred a month ago.

Lauri Rantala via Wikimedia Commons

More people are using electronic cigarettes in Utah, but the rate of traditional cigarette smoking has remained unchanged.

Here at Salt Lake Vapors, Adam Christensen talks to e-cigarette users every day. Christensen says he stopped smoking two years ago with the help of these devices, which heat up liquid nicotine into vapor to be inhaled. 

Bryan William Jones | http://prometheus.med.utah.edu/~bwjones/

The Prison Relocation Commission approved a list of criteria today on which potential prison sites will be graded.

With criteria selected and weighted, legislators will now be able to compare potential sites for a new state prison. The sites will be graded on six distinct criteria, including proximity to staff, visitors, and medical providers, land and environment impacts, development costs, and community acceptance among other factors.

Law enforcement officer from local and federal agencies are meeting in Salt Lake this week to share strategies for preventing crime.

The Violent Crimes Conference is a gathering of more than 200 law enforcement professionals including representatives from the FBI, West Valley police and Unified Police departments.  There they will share case studies and best practices.  Detective Matt Evans is the conference director.  He says one crime in particular is increasing along the Wasatch Front.

LongSkull / Flickr Creative Commons

    

AAA is projecting that 34.7 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more this weekend to celebrate the holiday that marks the end of summer.

Around 2.5 million people in the Mountain West are planning to travel, according to AAA spokeswoman Rolayne Fairclough. And about 2.1 million are going to drive.

Leisure travel has steadily increased each holiday through the summer leading up to the busiest Labor Day travel weekend since the beginning of the recession in 2008. Fairclough says that’s a positive sign about their standard of living.

File: gunholstersunlimited.com

The Sandy City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to amend city ordinances to allow unrestricted carrying of firearms in public places within city limits. Nicole Martin is the spokeswoman for the city. She says the council and city officials are not trying to make a statement about gun control.

Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office

Attempted Murder is the charge Unified Police are recommending for the 24-year-old Kearns woman who dumped her infant child in a neighbor’s trash can to hide her pregnancy. But the charge may change as the circumstances surrounding the incident come to light.

A 24-year-old Kearns woman has been charged with attempted murder after she discarded her infant child in a neighbor’s trash can Tuesday morning. In an effort to avoid cases like these, local elected officials, medical professionals and law enforcement officers came forward Tuesday afternoon to remind expectant mothers of their legal options.

Alica Englert told Unified Police officers she was afraid to tell her parents about her pregnancy so she discarded the baby girl hoping she would die.

Utah public health officials are investigating a cluster of illness associated with the consumption of raw or unpasteurized milk.  Officials from the Utah Department of Health say 45 cases of Campylobacter infection have been reported in Northern Utah, Idaho, and California. All cases are linked to the consumption of raw milk or cream purchased at Ropelato Dairy in Weber County. 

Courtesy photo

The family of the woman who was severely injured when she drank sweet tea mixed with lye at a Dickey’s Barbecue in South Jordan spoke to the media Thursday at their attorney’s office. Family members say they are not thinking at this time about pressing charges, but their lawyer says he is gathering evidence and witness testimony of the incident.

Whittney Evans

Law enforcement agencies in Salt Lake County seized 31 pounds of heroin in a series of busts from February through July of this year.   But cracking down on the drug trade is complicated and could have some negative consequences.

Officials say the demand for heroin in Utah is a public health crisis. Drug cartels operating from Mexico are bringing significant volumes of the drug into the state. The latest series of busts led to 21 arrests accompanied by charges that range from distribution and racketeering to money laundering.

Brian Grimmett

North Salt Lake City officials have declared they are not responsible or at fault for the recent landslide that destroyed one home and damaged the Eagleridge Tennis and Swim Club.

North Salt Lake City Mayor Len Arave says officials posted the statement on the city’s website to clarify their position and correct what they saw as misinformation. While Arave says the city isn’t responsible, he wouldn’t offer up who he thinks is to blame.

Whittney Evans

With all eyes on the death of an unarmed teen in Ferguson, Missouri and two recent officer involved shootings in Salt Lake City, Police Chief Chris Burbank opened his doors to members of the media today to discuss appropriate vs. inappropriate force.

Whittney Evans

Police are still searching for the suspect involved in a Salt Lake City night club shooting over the weekend. A crowd of people were caught in a hail of gunfire on Saturday at Inferno Cantina, a Mexican restaurant and dance club, located at 122 West Pierpont Avenue in Salt Lake City.  Six people suffered non-life threatening injuries as a result of the shooting. Police Detective Greg Wilking says when the suspect fled the bar, an armed security guard from inside the club followed and fired at least one round, uncertain if the bullet hit anyone.

The personal information of patients at a Tooele hospital has been exposed in a cyberattack. Administrators at Community Health Systems, which operates Mountain West Medical Center in Tooele, say the attack took information from its computer network earlier this year.

The Tennessee company says that no medical or credit card records were taken in the attack, which may have happened in April and June. But the company said the attack did bypass its security systems to take patient names, addresses, birthdates, phone and Social Security numbers.

File: Salt Lake County Bicycle Commuter Network

Salt Lake County officials have announced a new grant program available to area cities to improve the commuter bicycle experience.

County Mayor Ben McAdams says the plan is to use a small portion of the $40-million plus transportation budget to double the number of bicycle commuters in a relatively short period of time.

Brian Grimmett

Several families are still have no access to their homes because of a landslide that occurred in North Salt Lake on Tuesday. As workers begin to clean up and secure the slide area, some are beginning to ask who, if anyone, is to blame. 

North Salt Lake city officials say they began seeing small signs of a movement on the hill as early as last fall. But they say it wasn’t until early July that they began seeing enough movement to raise concern. North Salt Lake mayor Len Arave says while they were working on a solution, nobody realized how urgent the situation was.

Brian Grimmett

  A landslide in North Salt Lake has destroyed one home and displaced many others. The hillside above the neighborhood on Parkway Drive gave way at about 6:30 Tuesday morning.

“I heard a loud thunder sound, actually a couple of them, and ran to my front window and looked out and there were police in the street," says Melissa Plowman. "And I ran to the back of my house and looked up and basically saw a crater.”

Brett Neilson via Wikimedia Commons

Over the weekend Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank announced his department has been selected to undergo a federal review of how it handles sexual assault cases.

The Police Detective Research Forum and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women will conduct the review. Salt Lake City is one of four police departments nationwide to be selected. Police Detective Greg Wilking says it’s expected to take about a year to complete but there is no definitive deadline.

Review Board Clears Officer in Dog Shooting

Aug 1, 2014
Sean Kendall/Facebook

  A civilian review board has exonerated a Salt Lake City police officer after he shot a dog last month.

The report from the Salt Lake City Police Civilian Review Board looked at whether Detective Brett Olsen used excessive force when he shot and killed a dog named Geist.  Olsen was searching for a missing child when he entered the back yard of Sean Kendall’s home in Sugar House.

Brian Grimmett

University of Utah law professor and former U.S. District Court Judge Paul Cassell has joined the defense team for the former West Valley City Police detective who shot and killed Danielle Willard.

Whittney Evans

The Salt Lake City Police Department began putting extra attention on Pioneer Park this month with the creation of a special bureau. Law Enforcement officials say that effort combined with new family-friendly activities will make the park and the neighborhood safer.

If you’ve spent any time around Pioneer Park lately, whether it be for the downtown farmer’s market or the Twilight Concert Series, you may have noticed some athletic, enthusiastic people flying high above you.

Wikimedia commons

Animal doctors at a laboratory in Logan should know by the end of the week how ten horses found in a Magna field over the weekend died. The answer could lead to criminal charges for the animal’s owner.

On Friday afternoon Salk Lake County Animal Services and the Unified Police Department responded to reports that several horses were found dead in a field near 3500 south and 9200 west in Magna. One horse was still alive but in poor condition.

Brian Grimmett

Draper City and the Unified Fire Authority are working hand in hand to help mitigate fire danger on Traverse Mountain.

The area where firefighters are thinning out the underbrush is located on a steep hill leading right up into homes in the SunCrest neighborhood. Unified Fire Authority Captain Riley Pilgrim says they’re hoping to help reduce the fire risk of one of the most dangerous spots in the state.

Gun Deaths Exceed Highway Deaths in Utah

Jul 17, 2014
Violence Policy Center

Utah is one of 14 states where the number of gun-related deaths is now higher than the number of highway fatalities. 

Highway fatalities in Utah – and across the country – have dropped dramatically in the past decade, thanks in part to safer cars and better drunk driving enforcement. For Utah, a report from the Violence Policy Center says there were 277 motor vehicle deaths in 2011, compared to 308 deaths from guns.  That includes accidents, homicides and suicides.

Dan Bammes

  A huge pile of wood chips on the Diamond Tree Experts site in South Salt Lake caught fire yesterday.  It was the second fire there in a month, and city officials say they’re taking steps to prevent another fire from occurring in the future.

Smoke from the burning mulch pile at about 3600 South was thick enough to shut down I-15 temporarily.  Firefighters worked through the night to put out the flames.  They think it was started by spontaneous combustion in the decomposing mulch, though the exact cause is under investigation.

Nicole Nixon

A man accused of shooting and killing a Draper City police officer last September will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole. Thirty-four-year-old Timothy Troy Walker was convicted Tuesday morning in 3rd District court with aggravated murder in the death of 32-year-old police Sergeant Derek Johnson.

Whittney Evans

Salt Lake County’s Metro Gang Unit has captured three of the county’s most-wanted gangsters in the past month. Officials say it’s mostly a coincidence that they’ve nabbed the fugitives in such a short period of time, but its evidence that the unit’s relationship with the public is crucial to these arrests. 

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