Police chief gives council annual department report
Police Chief Bryan Roberts stands with the council after being recognized as Police Chief of the Year by the Utah Police Chiefs Association. (Kelly Cannon/City Journals)
Draper City Police Chief Bryan Roberts emphasized the importance of working together during his presentation of the police department’s annual report to the Draper City Council. The 2016 report was provided to the council during their March 21 meeting.
After the report was given, the council surprised the chief by honoring him for being recognized as the Police Chief of the Year for the state of Utah by the Utah Police Chiefs Association. According to a press release from Draper City, Roberts was recognized by the association for his innovative and progressive law-enforcement practices. He provided state-of-the-art training to police staff that included fair and impartial policing, as well as integrating communications assessments and tactics by the Police Executive Research Forum, the ACLU, the Libertas Institute of Utah, Patrol Tactics by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau and Crisis Intervention Training. Roberts also implemented a comprehensive “less lethal” program to effectively respond to and de-escalate non-lethal incidents.
“He has enhanced community relations with a wide variety of community outreach programs that include Coffee with a Cop, a citizens academy, Sub for Santa program, School Resource Officers and increased the Neighborhood Watch program to almost 40 active groups,” the press release stated.
Roberts has been in law enforcement for 26 years and has been chief of the Draper Police Department since 2012. He has a bachelor’s degree in business management, a master’s degree in public administration and a master’s degree in homeland security studies.
Roberts began his annual report by saying the theme this year is “Better Together,” meaning they are a better police department and a better community when everyone works together in partnership and collaboration.
“We really value that at the police department, all of the relationships that we have. We’ve always worked really well with the community and the community has always embraced us,” Roberts said. “We feel so fortunate to provide public safety to the city of Draper. Without the help of our community, Draper wouldn’t be the safe community that it is.”
According to the report, the main crime trend that is on the rise in Draper is property crime, which has almost doubled. Roberts said the majority of the property crimes are vehicle burglaries.
“We still find that 65 percent of the time that we have a vehicle burglary, it’s because the vehicle is unlocked and there are valuables in plain sight. We track that very closely. That happens about 65 to 70 percent of the time,” Roberts said. “We’ve been trying to be very creative in messaging in telling the community to always lock their car doors no matter where they’re at and removing valuables. If you have to have a valuable in the car, place it in the trunk and make sure that’s secure.”
There was also a slight uptick in aggravated assaults in 2016 compared to 2015. However, Roberts said Draper still tracks lower than other areas in the state when it comes to crime.
Roberts also highlighted special programs the department has implemented, including working with Water Pro to distribute crime-prevention messages to residents through the water bills.
“They’ve partnered with us on that and we’ve been able to do that two or three times last year and we intend on doing the same this year,” Roberts said.
The police department also held a special presentation for all businesses in Draper who sell alcohol.
“The mayor joined us in that effort. We provided some education to those businesses and they all raised their right hand and accepted the challenge of eliminating underage drinking,” Roberts said.
The Neighborhood Watch program has escalated over the past year. Roberts said in 2015, there were 20 active neighborhoods in the program. It has risen to nearly 40 neighborhoods. Roberts attributed that success to the new crime prevention specialist, Natalie Thorell.
“She works very closely with the Neighborhood Watch communities and she’s the plug behind all the efforts in the Neighborhood Watch program,” Roberts said.
Roberts also highlighted the peer-support program where high school students act as judge and jury for other juveniles who commit low-level offenses. The department is trying to keep these students out of the juvenile justice system by offering a different course for them.
“This year, 37 kids were introduced into the program as offenders and 29 of them successfully completed the program and kept their case out of the juvenile justice system,” Roberts said.
Moving forward into 2017, Roberts said the three main goals of the department are to enhance their community partners, enhance employee development and to reduce crime.
Mayor Troy Walker praised Roberts and the department on continually doing good work.
“Ever since we’ve hired you, the department has gotten better and better. These annual reports are invaluable to us as far as letting us know what is going on,” Walker said. “You guys do an outstanding job and I’m grateful for all your service as well.”