'They need to speed it up,' activist says about Salt Lake City police reforms

‘They need to speed it up,’ activist says about Salt Lake City police reforms (FILE Photo: KUTV)

Salt Lake City’s new commission that is looking into ways to reform policing plans to make recommendations to city leaders by July 1.

Lex Scott, the founder of Black Lives Matter Utah, laughed when initially told of the timeline.

“I’m telling you right now: The movement will slow down by July,” Scott said. “The headlines will go away. People will lose interest in this.”

Members of the Racial Equity in Policing Commission, which was established by the mayor and council, stand by their timeline.

“We want to get it right,” said Darlene McDonald, one of the core commissioners. “That’s why. We don’t want it to be so fast that we’re rushing through, we’re not taking everything into account.”

McDonald said a facilitator will be hired in the next few weeks. Maybe even before then, the commission will begin holding public meetings. She said:

We don’t want this done in the dark, and we don’t want this done behind closed doors.

The group plans to look at everything from hiring and training to over-policing in order to make policy recommendations affecting the Salt Lake City Police Department.

Commissioners will research current law and best practices in other cities in addition to doing a lot of listening to the community.

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“They need to speed it up,” Scott said. “Speed it up, guys. I think the idea is good. I think the people on the commission are good and qualified people. I think their timeline is not going to work out. We need it now.”

McDonald said the commission is meeting weekly and emphasized that members are in constant communication.

“Be patient with us,” McDonald said. “We hear you. We see you. We understand. We are you. We want to get this right.”