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UTA may look at other models for transit police
Transit » Agency ponders money-saving move; its police department’s annual budget is $5.8M.


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The Unified Police Department in Salt Lake County and the Utah Highway Patrol have expressed interest in bidding to take over UTA policing, Walker said. He would like to see if the agency can save money through their bigger buying power and training programs, and through combining administration.

"I also am not opposed to thinking outside the box and contracting with local policing agencies through which we pass and say to them, ‘Listen, maybe we should contribute a little to your police budget and put another policeman on and let you take care of it,’ " he said. "To me, that seems to be the one that makes the most sense."

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UTA officials say they are happy to study other options but have concerns. Chief Safety Officer Dave Goeres, who oversees UTA police, told the board that officers’ priority is customer service, including helping people navigate the system and feel safe. He said contracting with others may dilute that friendlier focus.

Walker said UTA staff is gathering data to allow possibly issuing a request for bids. The UTA board is expected to debate the idea more in coming months — and the issue is on the agenda of a committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday.

ldavidson@sltrib.com




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