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“I look forward to a year when we embrace every single individual in our community”

SALT LAKE CITY — In his Chief’s Message video for January, Chief Chris Burbank calls on the public to get involved in public safety issues this year.

Although violent crime was at a 27-year low in the Capital City last year, Burbank, who has been police chief for eight years, says that particular yardstick is a “faulty model. Every time that we arrest somebody that is a failure in our system because we have a victim of crime in our society.”

Burbank addresses several public safety issues where “we can do better”:

  • “We need to evaluate individuals who have access to firearms who are intent on doing harm in our society — something needs to be done about that.”
  • “Those individuals with mental health issues — there are avenues to get them help. It takes people who care and are committed to making a difference in order to change these people’s lives and, in fact, prevent what may ultimately be a very serious tragedy.”
  • “The homeless population that exists in our society certainly has impact, but Salt Lake City is their home, their neighborhood. It’s not a matter of pushing them out of the way; it’s a matter of being responsible. Far too often, I see on the street corners people handing money to individuals panhandling. Not always does that money go to help people. And in fact, a lot of times that goes into drug and alcohol addiction and only furthers the problems and issues that individual may have.”

For the successes of the police department, Burbank credits the men and women, both sworn and civilian, under his command. “Time and time again, the praise that comes to me personally is really owed to them. Because each and every day they go out and serve this community with dignity, with integrity, and ensure we are in fact preventing crime from occurring.”

Closing the video, Burbank talks about the tools that officers and the public have at their command to make a difference in the community.

“The number one tool that a police officer carries with them is their ability to articulate and to empathize. The number one tool that you [the public] carry with you is your willingness to participate and work for a better future. Far too often we close our eyes to what happens around us because it’s not impacting us,” Burbank said.

“I look forward to a year when we embrace every single individual in our community — that is how we make a difference, when everybody trusts, when everybody participates and says we are going to stop crime and disorder in our community.”

Watch the full video online at or

About the “Chief’s Message”
Chief Burbank issues a monthly video message to help the public reduce its exposure to, or mitigate the effects of, crime, as well as spotlight different parts of the city’s public safety team. All “Chief’s Messages” are archived on the newsroom page of and the “Chief’s Message” playlist of To recommend a topic to Chief Burbank, please send an email to: