A ride-along Q&A with the Herriman Police Department as it turns a year old
Sep 23, 2019 02:10PM
By Justin Adams
Herriman Police Department patrol vehicles sit outside city hall. (Justin Adams/City Journals)
By Justin Adams | [email protected]
Sept. 30 marks one year since the Herriman Police Department officially took over and started patrolling the streets. The South Valley Journal wanted to know how things have been going with the fledgling department, a ride-along with Sergeant Brad Bailey was arranged where he was asked about a variety of issues impacting the safety and security of Herriman residents. Here’s some of what he had to say.
Transition from UPD to Herriman PD
“For me, it’s been a seamless transition for the community,” Bailey said. “The officers see the community as a good fit for them. After the first year, we have zero turnover. That’s unheard of.”
Bailey credited Chief Troy Carr with installing a community-first mentality throughout the department, something he said has really helped them become ingrained in the city.
“We are all focused on Herriman and only on Herriman,” he said. “We can dedicate all our time and resources to our residents.”
Bailey and several other officers in the department live either in or near Herriman, which helps the focus remain on community-oriented policing even more.
“It feels good to take part in my own community,” he said. “When someone needs help, it’s my friends or neighbors. It strengthens the community feel that we have.”
What makes Herriman PD unique?
“The city’s been a family since day one,” Bailey said.
When one employee went through an unexpected family tragedy, Bailey said the entire city staff rallied to the employee’s aid.
“Before I’d even heard about, and I heard about it fairly quickly, there had already been a network of employees put together to help take care of their needs,” he said.” And it was all volunteer. People were just doing it because they are family.”
That unique family culture has helped make the police department a great place to work–so much so that they have zero turnover in their first year.
The challenges of working in a rapidly growing community
While driving down Mountain View Corridor, Bailey pointed to a series of townhomes and apartment buildings that had been completed just in the last year, as he explained that keeping up with the growth of the city has been the biggest challenge for the Herriman Police Department.
“More people mean more streets,” he said. “More streets mean more street names that you have to learn that aren’t in the GPS yet.”
More people also mean more potential for crime, statistically speaking. However, Bailey said he’s not aware of any data that shows crime increases in, or because of, high-density housing development.
“There are areas of the city that are high-density that we are rarely called out to,” he said. “There are others where we are frequently called out to. And the same can be said for single-family home neighborhoods.”
Crime in Herriman
According to Bailey, the most common form of crime in Herriman is theft, usually from someone’s unlocked car, open garage or a package left on a front porch.
“The community is very trusting out here, which is great, but that also creates crimes of opportunity,” Bailey said.
Education is a big part of what the department is doing to combat these kinds of crimes. For example, patrol officers have door hangers that they can leave on houses that have their garage doors open overnight.
When it comes to package theft, Bailey said the numbers aren’t rampant, but it may be an under-reported crime. Many people will post photos or videos of package thieves on social media but don’t actually report it to the police, he said.
“Put it online, but by all means, call and let us know,” he said. “We don’t monitor social media.”
Before going on the ride-along, I reached out to the Facebook group Herriman Happenings to gather relevant questions from the community. Many dealt with concerns about traffic situations on specific streets throughout the city.
For those kinds of concerns, Bailey recommended that people submit formal complaints through either the city’s website or by calling the department’s non-emergency phone number. If there’s a formal complaint they can arrange to have an area monitored by a traffic unit.
With only three patrol cars out on the road at times, the department doesn’t have the resources to watch every school zone, busy intersection or thoroughfare all day. That’s why it’s so important for people to be proactive in contacting the police when there is a problem.
Substance Abuse/Mental Illness
Bailey said that one of the more surprising things he’s encountered in Herriman is the number of alcohol-related cases, specifically drunk driving and domestic situations. Drunk and alcohol use among teenagers is also a big concern for the department.
“It’s more than what people would anticipate,” he said. “It keeps school resource officers very busy.”
An often-related problem is mental health, an issue that Bailey said impacts all demographics of people. The department is currently putting together a special mental health unit, an effort actually being led by Bailey himself.
The unit will be partnering with the University of Utah’s Neuropsychiatric Institute to connect residents with some of their free resources and programs.