Additionally, key management positions in the new department were taken from officers and given to newly hired civilian employees.Those numbers would seem to prove the fulfillment of the money-saving promises made by the consolidation cheerleaders. According to Steve Conrad, current chief of the Glendale, Arizona, police and former assistant chief of police in Louisville, the savings they were promised never materialized.In Salt Lake County, control right now belongs to an unelected and unaccountable board of directors that is driven not by a zeal for the fighting of crime or the well-being of officers, but by an obligation to mind the bottom line and keep the profit margin wide.
Certainly there will be cases when the consolidation saved money in the long run, but these cases will be few and far between.
Everything will cost more than promised, but local governments will have already surrendered their control over the costs of contracts made for the outfitting of a force.
Without simplifying the situation too much, the plain fact is that a business now runs law enforcement in Salt Lake County.
Local police chiefs, if they still exist, no longer have any control over policy or procedure.
In a widely reprinted article entitled “The Sheriff Who Sold His County,” Clint Richardson recounts the “evolution” of law enforcement in this Western ski haven.
According to Richardson, on January 1, 2010, Salt Lake County “became a police state” when the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Department was officially dissolved and in its place a corporation took over all law-enforcement duties.
The private company that was given control of police functions is called the “Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake” (UPD).
First, the UPD became the “new police force” for all of the cities and unincorporated area within Salt Lake County.
Law Enforcement as a Business Even if consolidation did lower costs, there are other considerations more important than money.