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February 25, 2022

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SLCPD Releases Use-of-Force Report for 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — Today, Chief Mike Brown released a report detailing the Salt Lake City Police Department’s use-of-force for 2021.

Chief Brown released the following statement:

“The Salt Lake City Police Department is constantly striving to take a data-driven approach to policing. Reviewing use-of-force incidents allows our department to examine patterns or trends that may indicate training needs, equipment upgrades, policy modifications and the exceptional work conducted by our officers who compassionately serve our community each day with dignity.”

Mayor Erin Mendenhall released the following statement:

“I appreciate the Salt Lake City Police Department’s commitment to transparency and I’m also pleased to see ‘Use of Force’ numbers are down. The commitment to training and updated policies my administration enacted in 2020 are paying off and it is evident they are keeping our law enforcement officers and the public safer.”

In summary, the 2021 SLCPD Use-of-Force Report states:

  • In 2021, the SLCPD had 985 incidents of use-of-force.
  • The SLCPD used force in 0.57% of all handled calls in 2021.
  • There were 154 fewer instances of use-of-force in 2021 than would be expected when taking the increases in calls handled, arrests, resisting arrest and assault on police officer cases into account (a decrease of 13.52% below the expected value).
  • Said another way, SLCPD use-of-force in 2021 decreased relative to other variables.
  • The vast majority of use-of-force during 2021 involved physical force, with the next most common type of force used being a WRAP Restraint[1]. Weapons were rarely used by SLCPD.
  • The average subject involved in a use-of-force incident during 2021 was a 34-year-old white male.

A simple year-to-year comparison indicates a roughly 7% increase in use-of-force events between 2020 and 2021. However, it should be stressed that simply comparing year-over-year change in use-of-force data is a naïve way to evaluate any trends and misanalyses the nuanced factors at play. There are multiple contributing factors to a fluctuation in the number of use-of-force incidents, including the total number of calls for service officers handle, the number of arrests they make, and the number of resisting arrest and assault on police officer cases.

This use-of-force report, which only examines calendar year 2020 and 2021, is in addition to the report generated by the department’s Audit and Inspections Unit to maintain its Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA®) accreditation. The department’s CALEA® use-of-force report is conducted in July, under the fiscal year calendar.

Chief Brown requested the report be conducted by SLCPD Deputy Chief Scott Mourtgos. The request stemmed from a report generated by the SLCPD CompStat & Analysis Unit. Since 2019, the CompStat & Analysis Unit has generated a yearly report to summarize CompStat data. Use-of-force data is not a metric of CompStat. However, in the 2021 CompStat Summary Report, a one-page use-of-force summary that did not explain the nuance factors that go into use-of-force data, as described above.

Furthermore, during a review of the 2021 CompStat Summary Report, SLCPD discovered the web portal the department uses to obtain use-of-force statistics was not extracting the same statistics as when the City’s Information Management Services (IMS) extracted data directly from the use-of-force case management software.

The SLCPD has remedied the data extraction issue and is working to place its public use-of-force dashboard back online for the public to review and to provide greater context to the data available.

A recorded copy of Chief Brown’s press conference on the 2021 SLCPD Use-of-Force report can be obtained by clicking here.

A copy of the report can be obtained by clicking here.


[1] A temporary restraining device that safely immobilizes the body and restricts a person’s ability to kick or do harm to oneself and others.