Salt Lake DA Lays Out 22 Police Reform Recommendations

Jul 13, 2020, 9:17 PM | Updated: Oct 30, 2022, 10:59 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill has released his recommendations for police reform, a conversation that’s sparked dozens of protests over the past few months, some of which turned violent.

The 15-page document spelled out 22 changes Gill would recommend given that “the laws justifying deadly force in Utah are more generous to law enforcement officers than to other members of our community.”

So that’s his first idea: apply the same legal standards for self-defense to police as are applied to non-officers.

Utahns face certain limitations in self-defense that officers do not, including the requirement of “imminent danger.”

The current code allows an officer to use deadly force if he or she “reasonably believes it’s necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to another person.”

Gill pointed out Utah state law should define imminent danger as other states have done, and require that threat be present for an officer to be justified in using deadly force.

“Do I think there will be opposition or support? I think it will go both ways,” said Gill. “There will be people who will come up with issues we haven’t thought about, but that is critical because right now, one thing we can be certain — that there is a disconnect between our community of citizens and what our law is providing.”

Gill said that he is not trying to present the only answer, but give lawmakers a starting point ahead of next year’s legislative session, adding his office is well-positioned to make these recommendations because of how many officer-involved critical incidents it’s investigated.

“The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office, unfortunately, has had to review almost 100 cases in the last 10 years, and so we sort of see where our limitations are, and we understand that there is something more that our community wants,” he said.

Of the 22 ideas, most were for changes to state laws, although four of them were about possible changes to policies and training requirements.

A few other suggestions were: that law enforcement uses the least lethal force reasonably available and effective, and require officers to attempt de-escalation or non-escalation tactics first — again, if reasonable.

Gill would authorize prosecutors to convene grand juries as an investigative tool when an officer uses deadly force.

He would also empower cities to create civilian review boards in opposition to a House bill passed in 2019 that limits the power of cities to delegate authority over police departments and chiefs.

Gill’s recommendations come after he determined last week that two Salt Lake City officers were legally justified in using deadly force against Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal.

KSL 5 TV Live

SLC Protest

Rioters flipped and set a Salt Lake City Police car on fire during the riot in Downtown on May 30, ...

Dan Rascon, KSL TV

No jail time for man who set police car on fire during 2020 riots in SLC

A federal judge granted mercy to a man who set fire to a Salt Lake City police car during the 2020 riots in downtown. 

2 years ago

Rioters flipped and set a Salt Lake City Police car on fire during the riot in Downtown on May 30, ...

Alex Cabrero, KSL TV

SLC Police Chief Reflects On Downtown Riot Nearly One Year Later

Protests and riots broke out around the country a year ago following the death of George Floyd. That unrest later spread to Salt Lake City where a police car was flipped and lit on fire. Police Chief Mike Brown sat down with KSL-TV nearly a year later to reflect back on the day that changed the city and his department. 

3 years ago

Body camera footage obtained exclusively by KSL TV shows the moment a protester threw a rock at a S...

Alex Cabrero

Remembering A Summer Filled With Protests In Utah

In a year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, a presidential election, and even a serious earthquake, one of the biggest stories here in Utah is what happened on a Saturday afternoon in May. A protest in downtown Salt Lake City turned violent, leaving us with images many never thought we'd see here.

3 years ago

Protesters and police officers line a street in downtown Salt Lake City Saturday, May 30, 2020. (Sh...

Matthew Jacobson, KSL TV

SLCPD Officer Who Pushed Elderly Man During Protest Will Not Be Charged

At the request of the victim, no criminal charges will be filed against an officer who was captured on video pushing an elderly man to the ground during a protest in Salt Lake City.

3 years ago


Tania Dean, KSL TV

Protestors March To State Capitol Armed With Guns

A group of protestors marched to the Capitol to rally against police brutality and in favor of equality, but the difference in Sunday's rally was that most of the protestors were armed with semi-automatic weapons.

4 years ago

FILE: Salt Lake City County Building (Getty Images)...

Matt Rascon, KSL TV

SLC’s Commission On Racial Equity Holds First Weekly Meeting

Salt Lake City's newly-formed commission on racial equity met for the first time Wednesday.

4 years ago

Sponsored Articles

Stack of old laptops with dark background...

PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...

BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.

Close up of an offset printing machine during production...

Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...

Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...

Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.

notebook with password notes highlighted...

PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.

Salt Lake DA Lays Out 22 Police Reform Recommendations