Public Safety

KUER Local News stories about public safety.

Utah Office of the Medical Examiner

Attorneys for the family of Darrien Hunt released the official state autopsy report Tuesday. The 22-year-old was shot and killed by a Saratoga Springs police officer in September.

Why Aren't All Rape Kits Tested?

Oct 21, 2014
Tim Slover

The Salt Lake City Council met with law enforcement officials yesterday to continue discussing the possibility of mandatory testing of all rape kits in the possession of the Salt Lake City Police Department.

Amid questions of how much it would cost to test every rape kit, and how long it would take to do so, the issue of exactly why all rape kits aren’t tested emerged. Sergeant Derek Christenson oversees the special 

victims unit of the Salt Lake City Police. He says that rape kits aren’t always necessary if the perpetrator admits to the encounter.    

The Salt Lake City council is prepared to pass an ordinance requiring the Police Department send every sexual assault evidence kit in its custody to a lab for testing. 

Here, in this quiet space, no larger than typical college classroom, DNA-soaked cotton swabs hang from clothes pins and photos of crime-scene evidence dress the walls. Jay Henry is Director of the Utah State Crime Lab. He says this is where DNA evidence collected in the aftermath of a sexual assault, also known as Code R kits are tested.

Ken Lund / Creative Commons

Confusion about what a person can and can’t do with a gun on Utah’s college campuses is once again in the spotlight after pop culture critic and feminist Anita Sarkeesian cancelled a speaking engagement at Utah State University earlier this week after receiving death threats. 

Whittney Evans

The Salt Lake City Police Department has formally signed on to partner with a national research organization and the U.S. Department of Justice to establish nationwide standards for handling sexual assault cases. 

Salt Lake Tribune Photo Pool

A  3rd District Court judge dismissed charges Thursday against former West Valley City police officer Shaun Cowley in the 2012 fatal shooting of 21-year-old Danielle Willard during a drug investigation.  Cowley and his partner Detective Kevin Salmon were working undercover and stopped Willard whom they believed had just purchased drugs. Willard put her car in reverse attempting to flee the scene and Cowley fired rounds at the car fearing he would be run over. But the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office claimed that Cowley was not in danger and acted recklessly.

Tim Slover

30-year-old social worker Kayelyn Louder has been missing since September 27th. She left her home at the Willows Condominiums in Murray around 7:00pm. and left behind her purse, keys, phone, and dog. Amy

Fugal is Louder’s cousin.

“We’re asking everyone, where you live, to please hang flyers where you live,” says Fugal. “It doesn’t matter if you’re close to her condominium or if you live in a different city. Just please hang flyers wherever you can, to get her face out there even more.”

Tim Slover

One study shows that several of the voice-controlled entertainment systems available in new cars can be more distracting for drivers than talking on a cell phone. In the other study researchers tested several voice-activated entertainment systems and found that Siri on the Apple iPhone caused the most 

distractions, even when altered to be used hands-free.  Assistant Research Professor Joel Cooper was lead author on one of the studies. He says lengthy interactions with voice-activated systems make for more distracted driving.

Tim Slover

The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office has found the police shooting of Dillon Taylor was justified. Salt Lake City Police Officer Bron Cruz shot Taylor outside a 7-Eleven on August 11th following a 9-1-1 call. 

The 9-1-1 caller told emergency dispatchers that she had seen three males acting suspiciously, one of them

Brian Grimmett / KUER

The Utah Attorney General’s office is conducting a criminal investigation into allegations of misconduct at Stericycle’s incinerator in North Salt Lake.  It’s part of a multifaceted investigative effort announced Thursday by the Governor’s office.

Brian Grimmett

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed the existence of Enterovirus D68 in Utah.

Doctors at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake sent the CDC 22 samples, 12 of which came back positive. Doctor Andrew Pavia is Primary Children’s chief of pediatric infectious diseases. He says beyond the samples sent to the CDC they’ve seen several other cases they suspect are also due to some variant of the enterovirus.

Whittney Evans

The family of the 22-year-old black man who was shot and killed by police outside a Saratoga Springs strip mall earlier this month is calling on the U.S. Department of justice to look into the case. Relatives say Darrien Hunt’s civil rights were violated because he wasn’t breaking any laws.

Three Utah horses have tested positive for West Nile Virus. Dr. Warren Hess is the assistant state veterinarian at the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. He says they’ve been dealing with West Nile Virus in horses since about 2003, with as many as 60 horses contracting the virus in a single year.

“Vaccination has certainly been a significant help in preventing this disease." he says. "All three of the horses, and the vast majority of all horses that have come down with this disease have been unvaccinated animals.”

Whittney Evans

The 22-year-old black man who was shot and killed by Saratoga Springs Police last week was laid to rest in Sandy Thursday afternoon.  The funeral took place at an LDS church not far from where he died.

There was little discussion of the circumstances surrounding Darrien Hunt’s death which is still being investigated by Utah County Attorney’s office.  It was a solemn service, broken up by a few moments of joyful tears and laughter. The press was allowed to attend the funeral, but recording devices were not allowed inside the service.

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 |

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.


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.