Police providing ‘safe passage’ for students at 3 Salt Lake City schools

Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown speaks about the city's Safe Passage Initiative at Backman Elementary School on Monday, Aug. 29, 2022. Photo: Salt Lake City Police Department

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Aug. 29, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — Salt Lake City is increasing its police presence near three schools to deter crime, enforce traffic laws and help students get to and from school safely.

Mayor Erin Mendenhall joined Police Chief Mike Brown at one of those schools, Backman Elementary, for a news conference Monday to announce the city’s Safe Passage Initiative.

“Simply put, young students shouldn’t have to worry about getting to school safely,” Mendenhall said, “and in turn, their parents shouldn’t have to worry about their kids being in a potentially unsafe space.”

City officials say “highly visible” patrol officers will saturate the areas near the schools for the next two weeks “to serve as a deterrence to any type of crime,” according to a news release. The increased patrols also will include traffic education and enforcement, police said.

The initiative gets underway Tuesday on the first day of school at Backman Elementary, 601 N. 1500 West; Jackson Elementary, 750 W. 200 North; and Horizonte Training and Instruction Center, 1234 S. Main.

“This is not an indication of a rise in crime in these areas, but rather a proactive effort to ensure our children are safe when they return to school,” Mendenhall said.

The three schools were selected following discussions between the mayor’s office, police department and school resource officers, the release states. Areas with recent community requests for police service also were taken into consideration, police said.

The Safe Passage Initiative may be extended to other schools as staffing, funding and resources allow, police said.

“Our police department is committed to helping to ensure the safety of everyone as they head back to school,” Chief Brown said. “We have a close relationship with the school district and are looking forward to kicking off back-to-school in the safest way possible.”

Officers from the department’s Liberty, Central and Pioneer bike squads will join school resource officers to increase the police presence near the schools. Community liaison officers also will be walking to school with students, parents and school employees, police said.

“The number one priority to Salt Lake City officers is helping to ensure the safety of our children,” Brown said. “Building relationships with children and young adults this summer is a small part of the preparations the Salt Lake City Police Department has done to respond to safety concerns from the community.”

Salt Lake City police also provided the following safety tips to help keep roadways safe for schoolchildren:

  • Drivers must practice safe driving habits and be aware of the recently lowered 20 mph speed limit.
  • Drivers must follow state laws for school bus safety zones, including stopping when a school bus stop-sign arm is extended.
  • Students always should look both ways before crossing streets. 
  • Students walking to school should avoid wearing headphones or earbuds so they can be aware of their surroundings.
  • If a student sees something unusual or suspicious, they should alert a parent, school administrator or police officer immediately.


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