During the April 25 Moab City Council meeting, Police Chief Jared Garcia provided an update to council members regarding staffing and enforcement at the police department. In the past, Garcia has said that getting the department fully staffed was one of his highest priorities; Garcia has been in the position for just over one year.
There are ten patrol officers currently on staff, Garcia said, meaning the department is fully staffed on paper. But seven of the ten officers aren’t fully trained yet: two have been on staff for less than a year, four are currently in field training, and one is graduating from the police academy soon.
“Every officer we bring on, we have to provide 400 to 600 hours of field training before we can put them in a police car by themselves,” Garcia said.
The department has had a “great year,” Garcia said, adding that it’s a good thing to be staffed. But the department is still very much in the building phase, he said. All officers should be fully trained and able to be in their cars solo by the end of July.
Despite training officers, the department has been able to keep up with enforcement, Garcia said, especially with camping and traffic violations.
“It’s important to me that we’re being consistent and that we’re not focusing on one specific item [with enforcement],” Garcia said. “We’re focusing on all threats, all crimes, and all hazards.”
On April 22, a man camping illegally along the Mill Creek parkway violently attacked two walkers; the man is now in police custody. Garcia said there are many illegal camping violations in town.
As far as traffic violations, the department has been focusing on commercial vehicles that run red lights or don’t stop for crosswalks, Garcia said; the department has also been focusing on “exhibition noise,” when vehicles rev their engines in town, and equipment violations like modified mufflers.
Another priority has been communication with the public: Assistant Police Chief Lex Bell has been active on the department’s Facebook page, posting press releases and photos of new officers.
By the end of July when all officers are fully trained, Moab will see “a greater deal of enforcement effort,” Garcia said.