CRIME
New October 2022

merlin_2810361.jpg

Undated Salt Lake County Sheriff photograph

Surprisingly crime was not among the top ten community concerns raised in 2019 and 2021 of the over thousand residents I talked to in person over the course of four and a half years.  Nevertheless, crime is a concern to many residents in Utah House District 13 and if one listens to or watches the news media, it is often a real big deal.

Crime is often used as a hot button social political issue and ends up with extreme views.  As a candidate wanting to really address crime in our community, I feel it important to present to you my views on the matter.

  • SECOND AMENDMENT.  I am a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment and have been ever since agreeing with Justice Scalia's well written 2008 opinion in Heller vs. District of Columbia decision of the U.S. Supreme Court that held that individuals had a Constitutional right to "keep and bear arms."  I also support the recent 2022 Court's decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., Inc. v. Bruen holding that individuals had a Constitutional right to "keep and bear arms" outside the home. 

  • BANNING ASSAULT WEAPONS.   I am against banning assault weapons for the simple reason that the prevailing, but limited, scientific research on banning assault weapons has not found a significant decrease in gun violence when banning assault weapons.  Of the studies I came across there was only a weak association between banning these weapons and a reduction in deaths.

  • GUN VIOLENCE.  I support the following gun violence prevention measures.

    • Red flag laws.  I want to develop a carefully crafted "Red Flag" law that would temporarily prevent a person from possessing a gun when they are determined to be at high risk of the use of a gun for an immediate act of violence against another person based on the following:​

      • An impartial finding in a court of law respecting due process rights for both the at-risk person and potential victim.​

      • An assessment based on evidence-based, validated tools to determine the level of risk.  An excellent example: the "Danger Assessment" developed by Jacquelyn C. Campbell, Ph. D. which has been validated based on statistical evaluation of its use in actual unsuccessful murder attempts.

    • Background Checks.  I support comprehensive state-administered background​ checks that would include transactions undertaken at gun shows but not private transactions outside such venues.  Convicted felons of violent crimes and mentally ill persons who are untreated and have current diagnoses of antisocial personality disorder along with current anger management or substance abuse issues should be prevented from having access to guns.

  • DEFUNDING THE POLICE.   I am against cutting the funds of police departments in Utah.  Utah residents still rely heavily on our law enforcement officers to protect us from crime.  The solution in my mind is not cutting funds but developing a better way to use these funds in carrying out law enforcement. 

    • Creation of civil review boards composed of police and residents to conduct impartial, evidence-based investigations that provide both police officers and purported victims or relatives of the deceased with due process rights to get at the truth.​

    • Develop stronger mental health protocols to defuse not elevate the potential of violence and death.  As a former clinical social worker, I worked with both victims and perpetrators of domestic violence and sex abuse.  With the increased number of mentally ill people with a potential for violence, our society needs ways to address the mental not just physical elements of crime in real-time.

  • LOCAL NEIGHBORHOOD CRIME.  From talking to many residents, there appears to be an increase in vandalism and thefts from homes, cars, and sheds in various areas of Utah House District 13.  As a state legislator, I would:​

    • Keep in contact with residents and go along on police patrols to obtain first-hand experience and direct second-hand accounts of what is really happening in our neighborhoods.​

    • Work to maintain and increase community policing and ensure the integrity and trust in our public safety officers remains high.

    • Work to more fully restore the retirement benefits of public safety officers taken away by the State Legislature.