Residents Mixed About New Draper Police Department

Residents Mixed About New Draper Police Department

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News Specialist Karen Scullin reportingThis weekend recruitment begins for police officers to join the new Draper City Police Department.

The scheduled advertisements put the city's new police department on the fast track, ending its longtime deal with the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office.

But, as News Specialist Karen Scullin tells us, while some are happy about the change, others aren't.

Draper residents are without a doubt in for a big change come this summer as the city targets June for the startup of the new Draper City Police Department.

Salt Lake County Sheriff's deputies have been helping to keep Draper streets safe for 12 years.

But city officials have decided to end the partnership and form their own police department.

"The sheriff's office has been doing a great job, they really have, but I think as a part of Draper's identity to have their own police department will be an improvement," says resident Todd Geiger.

"We've had to call on the police a few times and it would be nice to have someone really close and to have our own people here," says resident Valerie Bunting.

But some residents fear the city will lose a lot of experience with the change.

"With the expertise that's already in place with the sheriff's department, I don't feel it's worth changing over and I believe that's the feeling of most of the citizens in our area," says resident Angela Anderson.

Draper will have 23 officers. Salt Lake County currently has 17 deputies assigned to Draper, but also uses the 53 deputies and officers in the surrounding south district when necessary .

But Draper city manager Eric Keck indicates the move is cost efficient. He says the new department will run on $2.1 million. Keck says it would cost $2.22 million to keep contracting with the Sheriff's Office.

"We're not raising taxes as part of this decision for the self-providing model. Matter of fact, if we would have stayed with the sheriff, most likely we would have had to do something with respect to our tax base," Keck says.

But the decision by the city of Draper to create its own police department is also creating quite a controversy when it comes to which agency will cover investigations here at the Utah state prison.

Salt Lake County Sheriff Aaron Kennard said that he informed Draper City if they were to form their own police department, Draper officers would have to cover the prison because it's in their jurisdiction.

But the sheriff also said, quote, "if they don't do it, we will. I won't make an issue of it."

"We believe in the short term we'll be able to deal with that. However, the state code does require that the sheriff be the first responder with respect to crims that occur at the prison," Keck says.

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