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Local, State Government Up Police Presence To Tackle 'Ecosystem Of Crime' In Salt Lake's Rio Grande

Utah Department of Public Safety

A new plan to restore safety in Salt Lake’s Rio Grande district is in motion.

Operation Rio Grande - a three-phase operation that will continue over the next two years - is officially underway as of Monday morning.

The operation was designed in a series of private meetings which began in late July.

“Since that time, we’ve been engaged in an unprecedented effort between the state of Utah, Salt Lake County and Salt Lake City to come up with a plan to restore law, remove the bad guys, protect our homeless friends and those that reside in, and do business in, the Rio Grande District,” said Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox speaking at the plan’s unveiling.

Cox was selected “point man” by Governor Herbert last month to lead the multi-jurisdictional effort to combat crime and drugs in Rio Grande.

“Our main goal today is to disrupt the drug trade that is happening and has gone unchecked for far too long,” he said.

The first of three phases involves bolstering Rio Grande’s police presence by five times to "identify, arrest and jail dangerous criminals” in what state leaders are calling “an ecosystem of crime.”

“We have, this week, between 100 and 150 officers available to work 24/7,” said Utah Commissioner of Public Safety Keith Squires. “That means we’re not going away, and that means there won’t be any cover at night either. It also means we’re going to be very visible.”

Phases 2 and 3 involve behavioral treatment and drug detoxification followed by a joint public-private sector campaign to enhance employment opportunities for indigent citizens.

Op Rio Grande Phase 1-3 by Dennis Stock on Scribd

The heightened police presence will continue indefinitely for the next two years. When asked about Operation Rio Grande’s cost, Lt. Gov. Cox said the budget is still being finalized