Unified police bills mailed from Calif. company, mistaken for scam

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake County sent out its first bills for Unified police service this week, and some residents are concerned.

The county is charging residents of unincorporated areas for police service, but because the billing company is in California, some residents think it's a scam.

Opening another bill is probably the last thing people want to do right now, especially when "the people" didn't get a say in the matter.

"The government doesn't play fair," says Millcreek resident Jim Oaks. "It just does what it's going to do, and it just seems to be getting more and more that way.

Unified police bills mailed from Calif. company, mistaken for scam

Opinions aside, the bills went out to 45,000 people. When they arrived in mailboxes, some of those people questioned the California return address, thinking it was a scam.

"I was trying to decide if it was real or not, because it seemed odd. I hadn't heard anything prior to that," Oaks says.

"We got several calls ourselves too, saying, ‘Is this a legitimate bill?'" says Jim Bradley, of the Salt Lake Valley Law Enforcement Service Area.

Turns out, it's the real deal. The Salt Lake Valley Law Enforcement Service Area says it contacted every billing agency in Utah; no one wanted to take on this bill, not even experienced utility companies.

Unified police bills mailed from Calif. company, mistaken for scam

"They did not want to do it. For whatever reasons, they choose not to do it," Bradley says. "We went to them first to see if we could get them to do it."

Instead, they went with a company out of Temecula, Calif. They had the lowest cost.

Your money doesn't go out of state, though. You mail it to a P.O. Box in Salt Lake City, and then Zions Bank holds the deposit.

The commission overseeing the billing says it's going to send three bills per year, at about $55 for the average resident. It's the price for police protection.

"I'm willing to go along with it. It has to be. We have to have police protection," says Millcreek resident Pat Kruger. "And if it's going to cost a few more dollars a month, so be it, until we get the economy back."

The commission says it will impose a late fee if you don't pay on time. They also say they hold the power to place a lien on your property if you refuse to pay it.

E-mail: ngonzales@ksl.com

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