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South Valley Journal

After one year, Riverton’s newly formed police department celebrates a successful year

Sep 22, 2020 03:02PM ● By Kirk Bradford

The inaugural Riverton Police Department Swearing-in Ceremony was held June 25, 2019. Riverton City leaders welcomed 35 officers to the new department. (Mariden Williams/City Journals)

By Kirk Bradford | [email protected] 

After choosing to leave the Unified Police Department, Riverton Police Department personnel said the department is off to a good start. 

When a department is considered a good department, some may choose that term relative to those caught violating the law or other scandals. Grading the department beyond that scale, the department seems to have pleased many. Policing has become a hot topic lately, yet in the year prior to Riverton’s Police Departments inception, it was already on people’s minds, and residents had mixed feelings about leaving the UPD or staying. Flash forward a year later, the overall feeling from residents seems to be acceptance mixed with praise after the departments first year. 

Social media posts indicate that residents support the policing in Riverton and feel it is off to a great start. 

Riley Eaves works nights at a local restaurant, where she has interacted with Riverton officers on duty. When a sporadic work schedule and building pandemic lead Eaves to not realize she had a tail light out and expired registration. Eaves told the City Journals about her experience interacting with RPD officers. Eaves said she was pulled over and, “The Polynesian officer was the kindest most respectful officer I have ever interacted with. I was so scared because I was with friends, and we had been partying. He was respectful, kind and let me know what I needed to do after making sure everyone was safe. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that.” 

Mayor Trent Staggs echoed the praise by saying, “As Mayor it is my duty to lead and make decisions that directly support our way of life and Riverton City’s mission to ‘Provide essential services that enhance the quality of life and sense of community for all citizens.’ It is my belief that the most important service a municipality can provide is the preservation of life and safety for every resident, which begins by having a dedicated and hardworking police department made up of only the finest individuals.”

Just over a year ago Riverton made the decision to become self-sufficient going with the creation their own police department. 

“I am pleased to report that the Riverton Police Department has been a tremendous success, and we have seen first-hand the benefits of managing our own department,” Staggs said. “It is apparent that law and order is essential to a community and provides a level of stability that allows our residents to live and do business in trust. With the addition of nine officers for roughly the same price we were paying for 26, we now have 35 sworn officers that are visibly present in our community. These fine individuals have worked hard to build relationships, protect public safety and enforce the law.”

Staggs said city leaders had three main goals in mind after the creation of the Riverton Police Department. The first goal was a service-oriented and community-based police force that would be focused on the needs and concerns of residents. Second, prioritize the hiring process looking for experienced officers that have displayed a commitment to fair and objective policing. Thirdly, Riverton wanted a police force who, “Will protect our citizen,” while also protect residents from financially irresponsible hikes in property taxes that would have occurred had they stayed with the county law enforcement service area. By creating their our own department and taxing service area, Staggs said it has already collectively saved Riverton property taxpayers “$1.2 million dollars a year.”