Salt Lake County and Salt Lake City are working together in response to the urgent public health and safety crisis in the downtown area. Crime, drug trafficking, and predatory activity against the homeless and other vulnerable populations poses
an unacceptable danger to the community.
Operation Diversion takes a careful approach to separate suspected criminals — who should be arrested— from those suffering from mental illness or struggling with alcohol or substance use — who need treatment to achieve stability. A risk and
needs assessment by medical professionals helps determine if those arrested for drug possession or use should be diverted to treatment and recovery support in lieu of criminal prosecution.
As part of this effort, outcomes from diversion to treatment are being tracked to provide data for policymakers. This offers an opportunity for better long-term policy decisions about the design and funding of a more successful approach to the criminal
coordinates the work of law enforcement, the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office,
Salt Lake County Criminal Justice Services, the District Attorney’s Office, the
Salt Lake Legal Defender’s Office, Salt Lake County Behavioral Health Services and
many private treatment providers.
This new approach:
Salt Lake County and Salt
Lake City are engaged in an effort to disrupt repeated patterns of criminal
activity and restore safety to the Rio Grande Area.
Depending on their
situation and criminal history, individuals who are arrested as part of this
operation may be taken to the hospital, booked directly into jail, taken to the
receiving center for a thorough risk and needs assessment, or released back
into the community.
The receiving center is an innovative approach that
provides immediate access to medical screening, public defenders, risk and
needs assessment, and a warm hand off to drug/alcohol treatment.
Each individual who
participates in the receiving center process has the opportunity to speak to a
public defender before agreeing to participate and has a chance to review with
an attorney the terms of the diversion agreement. If an individual is eligible for, and agrees
to complete treatment in lieu of being charged for his or her criminal
activity, Salt Lake City social workers from the Community Connections Team
work with law enforcement to provide transportation and a warm hand-off to
Salt Lake County has invested $1.2 million
new, one-time county dollars to fund on-demand residential and outpatient
behavioral health treatment services for a six-month period.
Salt Lake City has invested $400,000 new
city dollars to be spent on the Rio Grande Area, with $100,000 spent on
additional police officer presence, and $150,000 on Operation Diversion
There is an ongoing commitment of resources
from both Salt Lake County and Salt Lake City partners toward this effort: