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Utah County chiefs of police join in reciting unified code of ethics

Police chiefs throughout Utah County joined Monday morning, through video, to act as one voice and recite the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics.

It was through the Utah County Police Chiefs Association and the help of Spanish Fork’s Chief Steve Adams that it was decided to reemphasize the code.

“As a coordinated effort with all Utah County Police Chiefs, Chief Adams and Spanish Fork’s media team organized and recorded a unified code of ethics message for all of Utah County Police departments,” said Sgt. Nisha King, Provo Police spokeswoman.

“We are so grateful for the efforts of the Utah County Police Chief’s Association and their dedication to a unified message,” King added.

In a recorded video, chiefs from around the county each recited a portion of the code of ethics for their own officers and the public.

There is nothing new in the unified code, but because of the political air in Utah and throughout the country it was deemed important to show how officers are to conduct themselves, according to Lt. Nick Thomas, Orem Police Department spokesman.

Broken down, the code says:

  • An officer’s fundamental duty is to serve the community,
  • To safeguard lives and property,
  • To protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation and the peaceful against violence or disorder, and
  • To respect the constitutional rights of all to liberty, equality and justice.

Officers are also expected to keep their private life unsullied as an example.

“I will maintain courageous calm in the face of danger, scorn or ridicule; develop self-restraint; and be constantly mindful of the welfare of others,” the code states. “Honest in thought and deed both in my personal and official life, I will be exemplary in obeying the law and the regulations of my department.”

The county chiefs wanted to reiterate these guidelines “to instill in the public that as officers we abide by that code,” Thomas said. “We are held to a higher standard.”

Political fallout since the death of George Floyd at the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, and other notable police-involved killings, has affected police agencies across the country, according to Thomas.

The code continues, “I will never act officiously or permit personal feelings, prejudices, political beliefs, aspirations, animosities or friendships to influence my decisions.”

“I will never engage in acts of corruption or bribery, nor will I condone such acts by other police officers. I will cooperate with all legally authorized agencies and their representatives in the pursuit of justice,” the code states.

This is one of the areas Thomas said needs to be clear with the public. “I’m in internal investigations (in the Orem PD) and one bad apple ruins the whole bunch.”

Thomas said there are over 3 million incidents each year in the U.S. Some of those rise to the top and some include officers.

“We don’t like colleagues if they have committed something criminal with a badge,” Thomas said.

The code is to be a 24/7 pledge to duty and concludes with each officer dedicating themselves before God to their chosen profession, law enforcement.

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Mitt Romney introduces bill to create federal wildfire commission

U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, is calling for the creation of a wildfire commission that would review federal wildfire policy and make recommendations to Congress.

Romney introduced the Wildfire Mitigation and Management Commission Act of 2021 on Friday at a press conference in Draper. Standing at an outdoor podium in front of two fire trucks overlooking the Draper mountains, the senator addressed Utah’s extreme drought and wildfire conditions.

“Lives have been lost; structures have been lost; businesses have gone out of business because of fire,” he said. “And we keep doing things the way we’ve done them in the past without recognizing that the world has changed. It’s getting drier in the American west; our state’s getting drier. The fires are becoming bigger, the loss of life is more significant and continuing to do the things the way we’ve done them in the past doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

According to a description of the bill, which is co-sponsored by Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Arizona, it would establish a commission of federal and nonfederal stakeholders, including city and county officials, “to study and recommend fire prevention, mitigation, management, and rehabilitation policies for forests and grasslands.”

The 28-member commission, made up of three federal co-chairs, eight federal members and 17 nonfederal members, would be tasked with “recommending policies to improve forest management tactics, federal spending and budgeting for wildland fires, and long-term management and land maintenance strategies.”

Additionally, the commission would be tasked with “reporting to Congress policy recommendations on short- and long-term wildland fire prevention, mitigation, suppression, management, and rehabilitation to avert future wildland fires from becoming catastrophic disasters.”

Romney criticized the current federal wildland fire policy for being a “patchwork of legislation and agency guidance across departments and jurisdictions, further complicated by mixed land ownership.”

“So the focus of this commission is to make sure that we have a comprehensive strategy for preventing fires from occurring to the extent possible, and also getting them out as quickly as possible,” he said at Friday’s press conference.

Jamie Barnes, acting director of the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, noted that 85% of the 380 wildfires in Utah this year have been human-caused. Those fires have burned approximately 40,000 acres of land.

“The issues here in Utah with regard to wildfire and drought are real and unprecedented,” Barnes said, adding that “fire-sense is more important than ever before.”

Barnes praised Romney’s bill, which she said “addresses the importance of collaboration, bringing forward the best tools and addressing major problems.”

“We must convene and make the best policy decisions,” she said. “We must manage lands and prevent catastrophic wildfire(s).”

Romney urged federal lawmakers to support the bill and get it passed during a “tough year” for wildfires.

“We’re going to have a real tough season. And so we’re going to have to take advantage of this circumstance to get Congress to put together this commission, to give it the funding it needs and to use the resources we have to finally be able to effectively address this problem,” he said.

Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, will introduce the bipartisan bill in the House, according to Romney.

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Partners of local entrepreneurs speak of having successful relationships at startup festival

StartFEST, a startup festival celebrating Utah’s evolving tech scene around Silicon Slopes, was held June 16-17 with various local startups being spotlighted. One of the panels at the event revolved around the partners of entrepreneurs and how successful businesses and relationships were built.

Amy Osmond Cook, chief marketing officer for Simplus and founder of Osmond Marketing, moderated the panel that included Charlene Edmunds, partner of Entrata CEO Adam Edmunds; Megan Ord, partner of GuideCX CEO Peter Ord; and Jim Birch, partner of Salsa Queen CEO Maharba Zapata.

The discussion dove into the pitfalls, pleasures and possibility of being in a successful relationship with an entrepreneur.

One of those pitfalls was the fact that entrepreneurs are often unable to escape from the business, often bringing work home. The panelists talked about experiences in which their partners could not get away from work while on vacation, while there was a belief that as the CEO of a business you could get unlimited paid time off.

That bubble was burst for the partners, and Birch even brought up a story in which his wife forgot her cellphone while on the way to a Hawaiian vacation. It was a good escape for her, but Birch said the work piled on when the couple returned home.

Edmunds said she likes to go on cruises with her husband due to the lack of good cell service. It’s a time when her husband had to disconnect completely.

“You just need to have fun together,” Edmunds said when asked about tips for having a relationship with an entrepreneur. “Communicate and have fun together, take the time. Life gets stressful and if it’s hard, you’re doing it right.”

She added that a relationship being difficult is not a bad thing, that it’s good to work on it through the process. For their relationship, Edmunds said she is doing pain in progress over pain in stagnation.

Osmond said something that works for her is the ability her husband has to flip from a heated discussion to watching a television show, moving on from an argument and not letting things fester for too long.

The final question posed to the panel was aimed at entrepreneurs watching, with the panelists advising on how to have a successful business and relationship.

Edmunds stressed that entrepreneurs and partners need to know that the relationship is a priority. While the business may be everything for the entrepreneurs, spending many hours away from home, the relationship should come first.

“Letting each other know that you are a top priority, even above the business,” Edmunds said. “A priority, having a safe space together, communication, and just have fun. Don’t ever stop having fun; when you’re not having fun, it goes down.”

To learn more about StartFEST or to watch any of the recorded events, visit www.startfestival.com.

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Former DWR central region chair appointed to Utah Wildlife Board

Gary Nielsen is one step closer to serving on the Utah Wildlife Board after a legislative committee voted on Monday to approve his appointment.

Nielsen, a high school teacher, spent eight years on the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources’ Central Region Advisory Counsel, including two years as chair. The DWR Central Region, which is headquartered in Springville, services all of Utah County, as well as portions of Tooele, Salt Lake and Juab counties.

The Utah Wildlife Board is responsible for setting Utah’s hunting and wildlife rules, including issuing permits for deer, elk, bison and bighorn sheep hunts. Earlier this year, the wildlife board voted to approve a decrease in the number of general season permits for the 2021 deer hunt in order to help sustain healthy deer populations across the state.

During a Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Confirmation Committee hearing on Monday, Nielsen told lawmakers about his interest in wildlife, which began when his biologist father took him bird watching.

“And we didn’t just look at birds,” he said, “we looked at, you know, yellow-shafted Flicker(s), ... (and) we watched marmots, we didn’t just watch big squirrels. And so it started early.”

Nielsen also talked about a wildlife management program he started, noting that “I’ve taught thousands of students about being careful with the outdoors, the difference between preservation and conservation.”

“I believe, honestly, that the key to a sustainable future is to get a little more understanding out there,” he said.

Nielsen added that he has a “good foundation” in both wildlife biology and wildlife management, “and so I understand the needs of the outdoors, I understand this mystical balance that we all talk about.”

The former central region chair said understanding the difference between conservation and presentation is “key to a sustainable future.”

“There’s (a) big enough presence of people on the landscape that we need to very carefully manage what’s going on with the wild things, or we’re not going to leave them any place to be,” he said.

Nielsen also told the confirmation committee about his experience raising five sons, noting that he has used “the outdoors as their teacher and their school.”

“And we’ve had a good experience,” he said. “I think the values and understanding that you can gain by just being aware of what’s going on in your surroundings are invaluable.”

Sen. Derrin Owens, R-Fountain Green, praised Nielsen, who he said he has known for “30-plus, 40 years maybe now.”

“And I’ve watched him work on the land and raise his sons, and I’ve watched him in the classroom,” the Sanpete County lawmaker said. “And I’ve watched him with his donation of time to conservation groups ... (and) just about anything outdoors you can think about.”

The confirmation committee voted unanimously to favorably recommend to the full Senate Nielsen’s appointment to the Utah Wildlife Board. Gov. Spencer Cox nominated Nielsen for appointment on May 14.