Council Statement on SLCPD Incident at University Hospital

The following is a Council Statement that was read by Council Chair Stan Penfold at the September 5 City Council Meeting. 

Like so many of you, Salt Lake City Council Members are dismayed by the July incident involving a Salt Lake City police officer and a University of Utah nurse, details of which were revealed last week. We want to apologize to Nurse Alex Wubbels for all she endured.

We understand many of you are here tonight to express your valid concerns and frustrations. We are listening. Your thoughts and perspectives will be heard and will be included in the public record.

Let me be clear that all of us – all seven Council Members – have the same questions and want the same answers you do. We stand united in our belief that it was unacceptable. It was especially frustrating in light of all the progress the police department has on de-escalation training. This is a big step back on those efforts, which is disappointing.

While the day-to-day operations of the City, including personnel matters, are the Mayor’s responsibility, the Council has an obligation to be involved in issues that have such a significant impact on our City residents.

There are internal, independent and county investigations underway. As these processes unfold, the Council will be taking our own hard look at the City’s relevant ordinances and policies to determine what changes are needed to prevent needless and regrettable incidents like this from occurring again, and to make sure that all those in the City and Police Administration have the resources they need. As elected representatives, we must answer to our constituents when public trust in government is undermined, especially when it involves something as critical as public safety and our relationship with hospital emergency professionals.

We take our oversight role very seriously and intend to be deliberate about seeking answers over the next several Council meetings. Specifically, we want answers for ourselves and for the public to questions such as:

  • How could this incident occur?
  • How can we ensure this never happens again?

We are committed to following through. We know we work for you and we’re grateful that so many of you are here to hold the City accountable. Thank you.