Salt Lake County sheriff’s office to take up more duties in split from Unified Police

Services previously provided by UPD — like canyon patrol — will now return to the sole jurisdiction of the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera will no longer oversee the Unified Police Department, starting July 1, the two law enforcement agencies announced in a joint news release on Monday.

UPD was established by the legislature in 2009, with the hope that the department would grow to become the county’s main law enforcement agency. Instead, the agency has shrunk as more cities created their own police departments — which lawmakers have asserted created a conflict of interest for the sheriff’s office, since the sheriff oversees the countywide policing while representing individual cities that contract with UPD.

So in 2023, the state legislature passed HB273 — which would remove the Salt Lake County sheriff as CEO of the department and ultimately dissolve the agency in 2025.

However, according to a Monday news release, UPD member communities — which include Holladay, Millcreek, Emigration, Kearns, Magna and Brighton — elected to continue their agreement with UPD, but under the direction of a governing board.

“While UPD and the joint partnership between Salt Lake County and municipal agencies have enjoyed for decades is evolving with this separation, we all remain committed to maintaining effective collaboration with all agencies for the benefit of our entire community,” Rivera said in the news release.

The separation will mean many services the sheriff’s office provided through UPD – such as canyon patrol, and search and rescue — will return to the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office. These services were initially provided by UPD so participating UPD communities could share costs, saving local governments money and reducing the tax burden on residents.

Neither agency expects any disruptions to law enforcement service with the separation, according to the news release.

“We are dedicated to serving our community with professionalism, integrity and a commitment to public safety,” UPD Chief of Police Jason Mazuran said in the release. “This realignment allows us to focus our resources on the specific needs of our member communities, ensuring a high level of service and community engagement.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that that the sheriff’s office will now be responsible for SWAT services, but a spokesperson clarified that the sheriff’s office will contract with UPD for SWAT operations.