Public Safety

KUER Local News stories about public safety.

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

The consultant hired by the Prison Relocation and Development Authority, or PRADA, held an informal meeting at the State Capitol Thursday.  At the event, people had a chance to voice their opinions on their master plan for moving the State prison in Draper.

Deborah Reithmuller is the founder of the Utah Prison Support Group. She was one of the few people that showed up to weigh in on why she thinks the State prison should not be moved.

File: WRCNU Facebook page.

State wildlife officials are warning everyone to be cautious if they come across another sick eagle.  16 bald eagles have died in recent weeks from a mysterious illness.  Leslie McFarlane, wildlife disease coordinator with the Division of Wildlife Resources, says they thought it might be lead poisoning at first, but now they know that’s not the problem.

McFarlane says it’s good that residents want to help these sick eagles when they find them, but dealing with the birds is best left to the professionals.

Andrea Smardon

The West Valley City Police Department has announced the results of an audit of its former sex crimes unit. The audit focused on an allegation that a large number of cases last year were left uninvestigated, and that a member of the unit had inappropriately closed cases without following protocol.

http://jobs.utah.gov/ucard/

The personal information of thousands of Utah residents has been compromised.  Those who use the UCard to collect benefits from the Department of Workforce Services are affected by the data breach, DWS officials announced today.  JP Morgan Chase, the company tasked with delivering benefits through the digital payment card discovered a network breach that reportedly began in July and was contained in September.

Brian Grimmett/KUER

Local police and firemen performed a safety drill this morning (Tuesday) in preparation for the opening of the new Sugar House Streetcar TRAX line.

Brian Grimmett

 

North Salt Lake City residents will elect their leaders next week, and those running for office say that Stericycle’s medical waste incinerator has become a major issue in their campaigns. The company and the state Division of Air Quality are engaged in a legal battle over whether the incinerator exceeded permitted levels of pollutants in its emissions. Meanwhile, citizens are calling on city leaders to move the incinerator or shut it down. In the 2nd of our two part series we take a  look at North Salt Lake City’s options.

Brian Grimmett

The interactive timeline explores the events that led up to the development of the Foxboro neighborhood in North Salt Lake.

Brian Grimmett

North Salt Lake is home to one of the last medical waste incinerators in the country. Stericycle, the company that operates the incinerator, came under scrutiny this summer after state officials cited it for violating emissions standards. Residents of the Foxboro neighborhood became concerned about this plant operating next door. Many bought homes there without knowing that pollutants were being released into their neighborhood.

Tsutomu Takasu

New data from the Utah Department of Health show more than a third of high school students who played all kinds of high school sports, including football, say they had symptoms of a concussion and didn’t report the injury.

Bed Bugs Cause Closures at U of U Library

Oct 28, 2013
CDC/ Harvard University, Dr. Gary Alpert; Dr. Harold Harlan; Richard Pollack. Photo Credit: Piotr Naskrecki

University of Utah closed down the Marriott Library over the weekend after bed bugs were discovered in the building. Pest control teams scoured the facility to prevent the spread of the insects first found on some lounge chairs. Part of the library reopened today, but other areas remained closed. Some students and staff are cautious as operations return to normal.

UDOT Campaign Sets Its Sights on Teen Crash Fatalities

Oct 23, 2013
Karina Puikkonen

The Utah Department of Health and Department of Transportation announced  an initiative to decrease the number of vehicle related fatalities among youth. Car accidents remain the leading cause of teen fatalities in the state. Last year 21 of the 217 Utahns who lost their lives in car accidents were teenagers.

fox13now.com

The murder trial of Dr. Martin MacNeill in Provo’s 4th District Court is the first ever in the state to be broadcast and streamed live by the media. For proponents of open government, it is another milestone reached by the court’s recent rule change to allow video and audio recordings inside the courtroom.

Unified Police are investigating complaints involving the principal of a school for special needs students in Midvale. Multiple police reports have been filed against Jordan Valley School Principal Mark Donnelly. But an internal investigation by the Canyons School District has already cleared Donnelly of wrongdoing.  

http://rescuesaltlake.org/

The estimated number of people who are homeless in Utah has declined nearly 10 percent since 2012. In addition, homelessness among families with children dropped by 8 percent. The news came from the state’s comprehensive report on homelessness, which was released today, the same day of Utah’s 10th Annual Homeless Summit at the Sheraton Hotel in Salt Lake City.

Federal law enforcement officials are now enlisting the public’s help to catch sex offenders. Homeland Security officials say the public can start by downloading Operation Predator to your iPhone. It’s a new application the department has developed to gather tips about perpetrators of child sex abuse.

When a 9-1-1 dispatch center in Salt Lake County gets a call like this, the operator will use one of two existing software programs to locate emergency responders; and based on the location of the incident, call on the responder that’s closest to the scene.

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams says the problem with this scenario is when dispatchers are divided between two software systems, they’re not communicating. Depending on where the call was routed and the location of the incident, the caller may have to be transferred to another operator.

Nicole Nixon

Friends and family of Sergeant Derek Johnson were joined by law enforcement officers from all over the state and country for his funeral at the Maverik Center today (Friday). Johnson was killed in the line of duty on Sunday. KUER’s Nicole Nixon reports.

Dan Bammes

On Tuesday afternoon, Unified Police Spokesman Justin Hoyal released the identity of the two people allegedly involved in the shooting and death of Draper Police Officer Derek Johnson. They are 35-year-old Timothy Walker and 34-year-old Traci Vaillancourt.

Sergeant Johnson died early Sunday after he was shot in an apparent ambush.  Police say Walker is now considered the prime suspect in the shooting and Vallaincourt is considered a victim. Both remain in critical condition at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray.

West Valley City officials announced Tuesday; they’ve hired a police chief out of Kentucky to lead the city’s embattled police department.  Lee Russo, former Chief of the Covington Kentucky Police Department will replace retired West Valley City Police Chief Buzz Nielson.

West Valley City Manager Wayne Pyle says Chief Russo brings a great deal of wisdom to the West Valley City police department.

Rockport Fire Burns Homes, Forces Evacuations

Aug 13, 2013
Summit County

*Updated at 11:00 a.m. 8/16/13

Summit County officials have removed the evacuation orders for the communities of Bridge Hollow and Promontory. Evacuation orders are still in effect for the communites of Rockport Estates and Rockport Ranches. Officials say those evacuations will remain at least through Monday.

Fire officials released an updated count of the number of homes destroyed, decreasing the original number of 14 to eight. It has also claimed several cars, boats and ATVs near the Rockport State Park. 

Justice for Danielle Willard Facebook Page

After a nine month long investigation Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill announced today that the officer involved shooting of Danielle Willard was not legally justified.

West Valley City

Latino Community groups say they’re excited about a recent pact crafted between them and the West Valley City Police Department aimed at improving relations.

Bob Nelson

Salt Lake City residents, city leaders and especially public safety officials celebrated the grand opening of the new Public Safety Building on 475 South 300 East Friday. The 125 million dollar facility combines police, fire, 911 dispatch headquarters, and the dedicated Emergency Operations Center. It is also designed to hold up during a magnitude 7.5 earthquake and still be operational. Salt Lake City Council Chair Kyle LaMalfa says it’s a misconception that local government is the connection to the people and businesses of Salt Lake City.

Lynn Chamberlain, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

A confrontation last night between Boy Scout Camp leaders and a bear in the Uinta Mountains ended with a dead bear and possible charges being filed against a camp leader. It happened at the Hinckley Scout Ranch along the East Fork of the Bear River near the Utah-Wyoming border.  Jodie Anderson with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources says they tried to trap a bear reported in the area earlier in the week. They got a call from the camp that a bear had been shot after camp leaders tried to chase a bear from the top of a table while it was eating something.

The U.S. Attorney’s office for Utah is charging a Provo man with violating federal firearms laws.

Andrea Smardon

There was a grand opening ceremony Wednesday for Salt Lake City’s new Military Entrance Processing Station, otherwise known as Freedom’s Front Door.  The facility is where potential recruits from a 5-state area go to complete their application process for the military, and to take an oath before entering into service.

Brian Grimmett

A state task force is considering expanding special court programs into a new Veteran’s Court. Veteran’s courts across the country offer substance abuse help, mental health treatments and other special programs to offenders who have served in the military. For many vets, it’s a welcome alternative to spending time behind bars. Richard Schwermer is the Utah Problem Solving Courts Coordinator. He says help provided by a proposed state veteran’s court would offer a more long-term solution to offenders who are vets.

Brian Grimmett

Little Cottonwood Canyon is open to traffic again after several rockslides blocked the roads this morning. Utah Department of Transportation work crews began clearing the slides from the roads around 3:30 a.m. The major slides occurred about halfway up the canyon and covered the roads with rocks, mud, and debris. At the worst location, runoff water also caused parts of the shoulder to break away from the road. Still, UDOT spokesperson Adan Carrillo says no significant damage was done to the road.

With a handful of wildfires still burning throughout Utah and Colorado, Governor Gary Herbert joined state fire officials this morning to brief reporters on current efforts to control them. 

Firefighters were able to contain fires in Saratoga Springs and Provo last night before they caused major property damage any injuries.  Now they’re focused on a 60-acre fire near the Green River, three fires west of Blanding on Elk Ridge and another on the southwest side of the La Sal Mountains.

Utah State Forester Dick Buehler says suppression crews are out in force. 

Utah Fire Officials Forecast a Difficult Summer

Jun 11, 2013
Map of 2012 Utah Wildfires
Utah Department of Natural Resources

High temperatures and dry conditions have thrust Utah into what could be a difficult fire season. Crews contained the Flood Canyon Fire in Tooele County on Monday and the National Weather Service issued a “Red Flag Warning” for the St. George area over the weekend.

Jason Curry is a Utah State Fire Information Officer. He says because of late rains and higher snow-pack, this summer probably won’t have as many wildfires as last year, but the risk is still above average.

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