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Salt Lake City Council votes to add 50 new police officers

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(KUTV) - The Salt Lake City Council voted to fund the creation of 50 new police officer jobs as well as additional law enforcement staff.

The increase in staffing increases this year's fiscal budget by roughly $4 million.

Tuesday night's vote also created four new positions related to social work with the homeless.

“It has long been my desire to expand the variety of resources available to our Police Department,” said Council Chair Stan Penfold. “Our PD needs every tool available to meet our public safety challenges.”

The vote nearly doubles Mayor Jackie Biskupski's original request of 27 new officers.

“I proposed this addition to the police force for all our neighborhoods,” said Council Vice Chair Charlie Luke. “We have many needs, but none greater than safe streets and a friendly environment in our City. With the near doubling of our daytime population every day, ensuring the safety of both our residential neighborhoods and our daily visitors is critical.”

“We acknowledge that adding more police officers will require an increase in this year’s budget and we take that very seriously,” said Council Member Andrew Johnston. “We will need to be very careful and deliberate in considering how we pay for this important increase.”

“We need to get ahead of crime,” said Council Member Derek Kitchen. “We need to return to community-oriented policing. With this addition, the Council has made a commitment to a change.”

Nine other positions supported by the Council included employees for the crime lab and a victim advocate position.

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The creation of the jobs could mean less overtime for current officers.

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