Tooele City Police Chief Ron Kirby wants members of the community to know that the Tooele City police officers are highly trained and have and will continue to do their best to protect the city.
The officers under his jurisdiction are “highly trained” in areas regarding mental health, racial profiling, and de-escalation, said Kirby.
When asked about his department’s policy on chokeholds and knee holds, Kirby stated that they are not allowed and in the 20 years that he has been chief, they have never been used.
Officers are trained each year in how to de-escalate situations quickly and efficiently, according to Kirby.
“We use crisis intervention team training each year,” he said. “When we receive a mental health call, we use officers trained in CIT (crisis intervention team). We also have a good relationship with Valley Behavioral Health and they have responded to the scene before when needed.”
With the recent events in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Tooele City Police Department purchased training software to train the officers in areas related to implicit bias, according to Kirby.
He said that they would be training in implicit bias regularly.
“Each officer is given a psychological evaluation too before hiring,” he said. “They are tested for racial bias in that psychological evaluation.”
When asked how officers were trained to respond when a fellow officer engages in excessive force or other misconduct, Kirby said that all officers are required to report any misconduct they may see and are required to intervene.
If an officer is found guilty of misconduct, there are severe consequences, according to Kirby.
“Whenever a police department hires an officer, they do a background check,” he said. “Part of that check is calling the former police department where that officer has worked. We get calls all the time about an applicant who has worked or used to work for us and the other police department can read the applicants file. Our files are open to every single police department who is trying to do a background check. If an officer does something wrong, it is reported and made available to all departments.”
According to Kirby, police officers are required to warn before shooting.
“Our officers are required to warn before shooting. It is the law. I usually remind people with that, it’s possible sometimes things can happen so fast that it’s not possible,” he stated.
When asked if the Tooele City Police Department keeps track of demographic data, including race in their officers’ interactions with the public, Kirby said that there was no disparity in the numbers.
“The numbers came back consistent with population when we did that in the past,” he said. “Sometimes people identify with different races than they look so, it’s hard to keep track of that. We can’t always be 100% sure but we do the best we can.”
Chief Kirby wants members of the community to know that they are safe and protected.
“I have every confidence in our officers,” said the chief. “I recently looked back at how many complaints of racial bias we have had in the past 20 years and we have only had four complaints. So, I have confidence and they really do a good job. We are constantly monitoring and looking for ways to improve. I will gladly sit down with groups such as black lives matter and others that have concerns. The men and women of the police department do a good job. They really do risk their lives for the community and I couldn’t be prouder of the work they do.”