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Sandy Journal

Sandy citizen survey shows strong approval of fire, police departments

Nov 19, 2018 05:05PM ● By Jana Klopsch

A Sandy city police car sits outside the department headquarters. (Justin Adams/City Journals)

By Justin Adams | j.adams@mycityjournals.com

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Utahns don’t like to have their property tax increased. So any time people support a tax increase, you know it must be for a really good reason. Such is the case with Sandy city’s police and fire departments.

A recent citizen survey conducted by the city found about half of Sandy residents would support a property tax increase in order to provide more competitive compensation to the city’s police officers and firefighters. Fifty-five percent of respondents said they would support such a tax increase for the fire department, and 49 percent supported the same for the police department.

“I think it shows that our residents appreciate the service that they’re getting and are willing to compensate us and pay us more,” said Fire Department Chief Bruce Cline.

Overall, 61 percent of the respondents in the survey said they have had no experience with the fire department. But of those who said they have had some kind of interaction, 95 percent gave the department a favorable rating.

Cline credited his firefighters with the positive survey results.

“I don’t think it has anything to do with me. It’s all about the guys going out there and doing their job well. My priority is customer service. Even if someone’s house burns down, we want to take care of them through that,” he said. 

As for police, 32 percent of respondents said they had not used or had no opinion of the department’s crime prevention efforts, and 20 percent said the same for the department’s traffic enforcement.

Of those who did give a rating for those two categories, 58 percent gave crime prevention a positive rating, while an even 50 percent gave traffic enforcement a positive rating. 

“Obviously a lot of people get speeding tickets and no one likes that,” said Police Chief Bill O’Neal, who was promoted to the position earlier this year. 

“Traffic enforcement is kind of a double-edged sword. Citizens want it in their neighborhood, but then if they get caught, they don’t want it in their neighborhood.”

Overall, O’Neal said he was pleased with the survey, noting that they received higher ratings in several key categories relative to the last survey four years ago.

“It makes you feel good that your officers are out there furthering that objective that you’ve set for them,” he said. 

There were other noteworthy conclusions from the survey, including 61 percent of respondents who were not aware that the fire department offers free community preparedness classes (first aid, junior firefighting academy, babysitting, etc.). 

Both the city’s fire and police chief encourage any residents with questions or concerns to contact their department’s non-emergency phone numbers. The fire department can be reached at (801)-569-2930 while the police department can be reached at (801)-568-7200.