Riverton City to withdraw from Unified Police Department

By a unanimous vote, the Riverton City Council made it official they plan to form a police department of their own over the next 12 months. (Photo: Morgan Saxton /KUTV)

(KUTV) -- After an early morning meeting, the Unified Police Department could be faced with more changes.

By a unanimous vote, the Riverton City Council made it official they plan to form a police department of their own over the next 12 months.

"If we don’t take action now then our residents ... may really not get their fair share with this contemplated change," said Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs after an emergency council meeting on Thursday morning.

Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera says this has actually been an on-going conversation.

"It really isn’t a surprise," said Sheriff River adding the governance committee met last week to create a new contract that alters the financial agreement the department has with various cities.

"It’s $1-million roughly that would be going away with this change," said Mayor Staggs, adding that the money has already been paid by tax-payers and the city would not get that money back if they backed out of the contact in the future.

The board meeting agenda published around 5 p.m. Wednesday, it specified item two was a motion to approve. However, Millcreek Mayor and president of the UPD Board Jeff Silvestrini said they meant the idea of a new contract was up for discussion.

Without a clear understanding, Mayor Staggs called the council together last minute to prevent being boxed in by a new contract.

But -- Riverton City isn't alone.

The Herriman City council called it quits back in May.

Cottonwood Heights backed out in 2010.

"Decisions are being made in an instant," Sheriff Rivera said. "We care the residents and keeping the policing at the lost cost possible with the best service."

Over the course of the next 12 months, Mayor Staggs said the public will be involved.

"The voters elect their representatives to represent them in this case which is what they are doing now," said the mayor, explaining why the emergency meeting wasn't open for public comment.

During the monthly board meeting, UPD voted to continue conversations in August.

The Unified Police Department and Riverton City have been partners since 2008. They now hope to find a solution fast.

"I do believe in the future," Sheriff Rivera said. "If everybody would just have some patience, all of this is going to work out."


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