Salt Lake City officers used more force in 2021 — but less than expected, department report finds

Officers used power 985 occasions final 12 months, in line with the division’s 2021 use-of-force report.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Salt Lake Metropolis Police Chief Mike Brown in his workplace on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021.

Salt Lake Metropolis police final 12 months noticed a rise in general requires service in addition to studies of officers utilizing power. However officers nonetheless used much less power in 2021 than a department-conducted evaluation anticipated them to, a report launched Friday concluded.

Officers used nonlethal power 985 occasions final 12 months, in line with the division’s 2021 use-of-force report. That determine doesn’t embody interactions the place an officer fired their weapon, the report famous, however does embody actions like bodily restraint, less-than-lethal rounds, pointing a firearm, use of pepper spray and use of a taser or use of a baton.

In 2020, officers used such power 917 occasions. Nonetheless, utilizing a system based mostly on variations in comparable variables between that 12 months and 2021 — together with whole arrests and calls dealt with, together with the quantity of resistance to arrests and assaults on officers — the division anticipated officers to make use of nonlethal power 1,139 occasions in 2021.

“We see this improve in calls dealt with, improve in arrests, improve in resisting and assault on cops, so once more the query is — did use of power change in proportion to that?” Deputy Chief Scott Mourtgos mentioned Friday throughout a information convention.

Mourtgos ready the division’s 2021 use-of-force report utilizing his expertise as a Ph.D. candidate on the College of Utah with experience in quantitative social sciences.

“We truly noticed a lower in what we’d anticipate when accounting for these different components that drive use-of-force incidents,” Mourtgos continued.

The 985 makes use of of power in 2021 amounted to 0.57% of all police calls that 12 months. SLCPD Chief Mike Brown mentioned group members ought to take into account that as at, or close to, “a world minimal.”

This lower from the anticipated quantity of makes use of of power is a results of the division’s insurance policies, de-escalation strategies and officer coaching, Brown mentioned.

The common use of power interplay was with a 34-year-old white man, in line with the report.

When damaged down by race, 48% of forceful interactions occurred with white folks, 17% occurred with Hispanic folks, 12% occurred with Black folks, 5% with American Indian/Alaskan Native folks and 4% with Asian/Pacific Islander folks.

Lower than 1% of forceful interactions occurred with Center Jap folks, in line with the report. Folks of different races had been the topic of two% of makes use of of power, and in 4% of makes use of of power, officers didn’t word the race of people that had been the topic in such interactions.

9 % of circumstances weren’t included due to a knowledge error, the report notes. In line with the division, the sum of all these percentages was above 100% attributable to rounding.

The division is on tempo in 2022 to surpass final 12 months’s 173,256 requires service, Brown mentioned.

Though he doesn’t know what’s accounting for the obvious improve in calls in recent times, he famous that calls appear to be getting extra aggressive, with extra folks carrying weapons and extra folks prepared to make use of them in crimes.

“I believe that the volatility, and what the perpetrators are prepared to do, that’s undoubtedly having an impression in our communities,” Brown mentioned Friday.

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