By Myrna Trauntvein
Nephi should always have two officers on duty at night for their mutual protection.
Larry Ostler, Nephi City council member, said that his participation in the Nephi Citizen’s Academy had opened his eyes to the need.
There should be two officers on shift each and every night.
Jeff Hansen, representing the Nephi City Police Department, with the go-ahead from Chief Mike Morgan, started the Citizens Academy program last year so that the participants this year are the second group.
“I know that those of you who took the class last year saw what the officers go through in one night,” he said.
He said he had already talked to Seth Atkinson, city administrator, and to Lisa Brough, city recorder/finance director, about funds.
The Utah Highway Patrol, the Juab County Sheriff’s Office and the city police cooperate and offer backup on some events but, late at night, the officer might be alone.
“The goal,” said Ostler, “is to have each officer go home at the end of the night alive.”
Justin Seely, mayor pro tempore, said that going through the Citizen’s Academy had enlightened him, humbled him and had offered understanding and had made him retrospective.
“While we were there last week (at the training), the police were called out on a situation,” said Ostler. “When you think about how much the officers go through in one night, it makes you think.”
Skip Worwood council member, agreed that it did give those attending the academy a new perspective and gave insight into the thought processes of the officers and the split second decisions they had to make.
“We could maybe talk to Chief Morgan and see what he could do about officer rotations so that officers would not work alone ever,” Ostler said.
During one class, said Seely, there was a high level pursuit that ended in front of the bank and took the police officers away from the instruction of the class.
Perhaps, said Ostler, it was time to see if funds could be found to make certain that no officer ever had to be out at night alone.
Earlier in the meeting, Dr. Rick Robins, Juab School District Superintendent, had talked to the council about what could be done about open campuses and thanked the council, police department, the county and the sheriff’s office for the School Resource Officer and with the help with having law enforcement officers at the elementary schools during the daytime.
“Maybe we are at a point where it is time to reevaluate hiring another SRO officer,” said Seely.
“Some areas with multiple entries to schools have put up high fencing and the schools look more like prisons,” said Robins.
He said that district schools were now safer because over the last few years the school board had made some significant changes: the entries were restricted, there was bullet resistant glass on buildings and there were effective surveillance cameras.
The new program, where an officer goes to an elementary school to do his paperwork, is a good one, said Robins. It is helpful because there is a police car out front and a police presence.
“Hats off to Chief Morgan and you for supporting the the substation offices at the schools,” said Robins.