Sandy police step up with plan to fight crime in parks - hopefully before it happens

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Sandy police step up with plan to fight crime in parks - hopefully before it happens (Photo: KUTV)

Sand police have a new plan to fight crime in the city's parks, hopefully before it even occurs.

They especially hope to target areas where it could take a longer time for help to arrive, if someone were to need it. Dimple Dell Park is one of those remote areas many people come from all over to visit.

Dee Brumback is from Bluffdale and horseback rides at Dimple Dell often. She said she always feels pretty safe, but she knows the area is secluded.

“There’s not a lot of traffic; there’s not a lot of protection,” she said.

Hearing of Sandy police’s plan to add officers in the area, as well as in all the city's parks, she said she’s all for it.

“It’s nice to know that the cops are taking a real interest in it, simply because it’s out and away," Brunback said.

“We’ve had concerns from the residents,” said Sandy Police Chief Bill O’Neal. “Vandalism, drugs, homelessness, people approaching them that for whatever reason, they don’t necessarily feel as safe as they should utilizing these areas.”

Chief O’Neal said this is why they want to be proactive, rather than reactive in parks.

"Historically as a police department, when we get these calls, sometimes it can take up to an hour to get to some of these locations,” he said.

The plan is to add two new officers, specifically for parks.

“They will know the concerns, they will know the issues, they will be in the area if something or an emergency incident occurs,” Chief O’Neal said.

The two officers will have extra emergency training, such as first aid care. They will have four-wheel drive vehicles and special equipment such as side-by-sides, mountain bikes, electric bikes and drones with night vision.

Sgt. Jacob Knight, with the department's crime suppression unit, said regular patrol officers already have a lot of hats to wear.

“They are working on different things every day, whereas these guys can focus their attention. They can perform follow-up,” he said.

These new officers will be outside, hiking, biking, getting to know the parks.

Rider Emma Erickson said she likes knowing "that there’s someone else out there, too, taking care of us, and keeping us more safe,” she said.