City officials unveil new police department logo; work continues to reestablish ‘in-house’ law enforcement agencyOct 26, 2020 04:36PM ● By Carl Fauver
Police cars and uniforms servicing Taylorsville will have a new look in just eight months, when city leaders reestablish Taylorsville’s own law enforcement department. (UPDSL.org)
By Carl Fauver | [email protected]
Four months have raced by since Taylorsville City officials made their surprise announcement that they are cancelling their law enforcement contract with Unified Police Department and, for the second time in the city’s history, establishing their own department. That leaves the city’s Project Management Team only eight more months to finalize every detail, before the new organization hits the beat running, next July 1.
That may sound like a lot to get done in a short amount of time. But don’t try panicking someone who spent 27 years fighting fires (or directing those who did).
“We are right where we need to be for creating our charter,” said Project Management Team leader Jay Ziolkowski. “I’ve reached out to Riverton and Herriman (two other cities that recently broke away from Unified Police) and have received a lot of good information. We are collecting salary data and policy information. We are discussing transition of assets. UPD has been very gracious with their time, helping with the transition.”
Not long after announcing his retirement from Unified Fire, Ziolkowski was hired by the city to coordinate the transition team. Veteran City Councilman Dan Armstrong believes it was a good first move.
“I know Jay; I know his heart, and I trust him,” Armstrong said. “That was an administrative decision, and I concur with it.”
At a city council meeting last month, Ziolkowski offered his first official “transition update report” to council members. He used that opportunity to unveil the Taylorsville Police Department’s new logo and badge design.
“We worked with a couple of different [Salt Lake] design companies and then tweaked their examples,” said Taylorsville Public Information Officer Kim Horiuchi. “We got all of the work done, the finished product, for about $400.”
Horiuchi is one of several people who attends the city’s weekly Project Management Team meetings each Thursday afternoon at city hall. Typically joining Ziolkowski and Horiuchi at the meetings are Mayor Kristie Overson, City Manager John Taylor, Chief Financial Officer Scott Harrington, UPD Precinct Chief Tracy Wyant and others.
“UPD has been very gracious in allowing the precinct chief to attend our meetings,” Ziolkowski said. “One of the first things we decided to do was to solicit input (about the formation of the new department) from the community.”
That occurred in the first of at least two planned community meetings, in late September.
“We had 24 invited guests at our first community meeting, including business owners, current and former elected officials, staff members, religious leaders and others,” Ziolkowski said. “Various demographics and ethnicities were there, and we gathered at least 50 data points. We’ll probably have our next meeting with the group sometime in February.”
Among the discussion points was something that has been widely discussed in the Utah and national media this year: the possible creation of a citizens’ advisory panel to review police department policies, procedures and actions.
“I am confident something like that will be put into place; but the details need to be worked out,” Ziolkowski said. “It is safe to say, the city administration has every intent of creating something like that. But here’s the great thing about Taylorsville: We have a lot of community support. It speaks well of the administration and elected officials. I just don’t think we have that same angst we see (over local law enforcement) expressed in other places.”
Until such a review board is created, the Project Management Team is considering comments and suggestions from the public at [email protected].
At this point, the Project Management Team has created an organizational chart template with 67 positions.
“We anticipate 61 sworn officers and six non-sworn administrative assistants,” Ziolkowski said. “Among the 61 officers will be one chief, two deputies (operations and administrative) and 10 sergeants (six operations and four administrative).”
The first year, Taylorsville Police Department budget is expected to be just under $11 million. That is slightly higher than the city’s current UPD expenditure of $10.6 million.
“This will not be, necessarily, a cheaper venture,” Ziolkowski said. “But we are adding value and more local control.”
Of course, the burning questions now are: Will UPD Taylorsville Precinct Chief Wyant be the city’s new chief, and how many of his precinct’s current officers will “come over?”
However, when Councilman Curt Cochran raised those types of questions following Ziolkowski’s presentation to the city council, City Attorney Tracy Cowdell quickly spoke up.
“We have an agreement with Salt Lake County not to tamper with their employees, and we have been very careful not to talk with police staff about moving to us,” Cowdell said. “We are not going to have people working for us on the side while they work for UPD. All officers [who come to work for the city police department] will have to go through an application process. We don’t know how many will come. I expect we will also get wonderful applicants from other police agencies.”
That being said, the top names in the new organization are expected to be made public soon.
“We expect the police chief, his two deputies and an administrative assistant to all be hired in January,” Ziolkowski said. “We need them in place to continue hiring and policy making.”
A portion of the city’s “just under $11 million” police department budget will fund partnerships with other law enforcement agencies for shared assets such as SWAT team support, forensics and records storage. However, at this point, city leaders are considering operating their own K9 unit.
“This is a great start,” City Council Chairwoman Meredith Harker said following Ziolkowski’s presentation. “It’s a lot to think about. I am impressed so far.”
For new Councilwoman Anna Barbieri, this was her first city council meeting, coming just moments after she was officially sworn into her post. A week earlier, the other four council members elected her unanimously to fill the District 3 seat vacated by Brad Christopherson when he moved out of the city.
“I think it will be awesome to have our own police force, with more control over policy and spending,” Barbieri said. “My first reaction when I heard [the city was going back to an independent police force] was ‘Why are they doing this?’ But then I heard the arguments, and I agreed.”
Armstrong closed the discussion in his typically succinct manner.
“Are we on track?” he asked Ziolkowski.
“Yes, things are really coming together nicely,” was the reply.