SLC Mayor Mendenhall, Council approve new Commission on Racial Equity in Policing

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall (inset) and Salt Lake City Council. Photos: Facebook

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Aug. 18, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — The Salt Lake City Council and Mayor Erin Mendenhall passed a joint resolution Tuesday night establishing the city’s Commission on Racial Equity in Policing.

The new commission will act as an advisory body to make recommendations to the mayor and council on such matters as the city’s “policy, budget, and culture of policing,” a city news release said.

“The Mayor announced the initial formation of the Commission in late June with the selection of a core membership. These six core members have since been meeting to choose additional members, select a facilitator, and sort out meeting logistics,” according to the news release.

Council Chair Chris Wharton said, “This resolution establishes the independence of the Commission and empowers them to help guide our efforts toward a more just and equitable City for all residents.”

The joint resolution was passed unanimously in Tuesday night’s council meeting and “makes the Commission a public body under the Utah Open and Public Meetings Act to ensure its meetings are open to the public and that the Commission may hold a meeting and take action only when a quorum is present.”

The Commission also has the authority to request information or materials from the city and the police department and to receive it promptly as part of the process to make recommendations to the mayor and council.

The Council will hold space on each agenda for reports from the Commission.

“This is a crucial step in the progression of the Commission as we work to be transparent and build trust with the community around this important issue,” said Mayor Mendenhall in the news release. “Formally establishing the Commission means that the public will be able to be as informed and involved in their work as they can be with our typical public meetings.”

The Joint Resolution begins with reference to the death of George Perry Floyd on May 25 while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department. It also states that in the aftermath of Floyd’s death, “citizens have demanded that local government address systemic racism in police departments and enact policies to establish racial equity in policing…”

The Joint Resolution, which includes the projected activities of the Commission and its interaction with the public, can be read in its entirety here.


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