This session, Senate Minority Leader Karen Mayne initiated SJR10, Joint Resolution Encouraging More Training and Resources for Municipal Code Enforcement Officers, with Rep. James Dunnigan as the House sponsor. The resolution is a response to Utah Ordinance Compliance Association request following the Aug. 9, 2018 murder of West Valley City code enforcement officer Jill Robinson, 52.
Robinson was killed when making a routine follow-up visit to a home that had receive a code violation notice. The homeowner shot her in his driveway and then set fire to her and the city truck she had arrived in. He also torched his next-door neighbor’s house, accusing them of reporting him to code enforcement. [Deseret News] [The Salt Lake Tribune] [KUTV] [Fox13]
This tragic situation is the driving force behind the resolution that encourages more training and resources to improve the safety of code enforcement officers. This resolution:
recognizes the vital role that code enforcement officers play in the health, safety,
and welfare of our communities;
recognizes the risks that come with being a code enforcement officer;
encourages code enforcement officers to become familiar with organizations and
resources that provide training; and
encourages local municipalities to adopt ordinances and policies to greater facilitatethe training and protection of code enforcement officers.
SJR10 passed the Senate and will be heard in the House Political Subdivisions Standing Committee, 8:00am Thursday, March 7.
The official language follows:
Be it resolved by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
WHEREAS, code enforcement officers provide an essential service by helping to maintain the standards and dignity of our communities;
WHEREAS, recent tragic events have highlighted the fact that many code enforcementofficers enter dangerous situations in the performance of their duties;
WHEREAS, due to the function they serve and the risks they encounter, code enforcement officers deserve the respect and dignity afforded to all public servants who regularly risk their own safety for the betterment of our communities, along with the resources they need to assure their own safety; and
WHEREAS, in response to the need for continuing education of code enforcementofficers, certain nonprofit organizations such as Utah Ordinance Compliance Association and American Association of Code Enforcement provide access to education, training, and resources that could increase the safety and awareness of all code enforcement officers:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of the state of Utah strongly encourages code enforcement officers to become familiar with organizations and resources that provide training to increase situational awareness, recognize and understand personal property rights, develop professional conduct, and aid them in all other duties associated with their position.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislature of the state of Utah encourages local municipalities to adopt ordinances and policies to greater facilitate the training and protection of code enforcement officers, including but not limited to the resources cited in this resolution.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Utah League of Cities and Towns and the Utah Association of Counties for distribution to all their constituents.