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State epidemic impacts city

Oct 31, 2017 11:11AM ● Published by Cassie Goff

The CHPD has noticed a spike in crime as some of the homeless population has been relocated within the city. (CHPD/Cottonwood Heights)

The homeless population in Salt Lake has been in the news frequently ever since legislation was proposed to tackle the increasing problem. Even though this issue extends beyond the boundaries of Cottonwood Heights, the city has been directly impacted. 

One of the solutions for the Rio Grande project was to relocate some families out of the area. The families were moved into hotels for multiple nights throughout the valley. One of the hotels that housed some of these homeless families was located in Cottonwood Heights. 

“They are using taxpayer money to put them in hotel rooms in our city,” Police Chief Robby Russo said. 

As this problem became a common occurrence in the city, the Cottonwood Heights Police Department noticed a spike in crime. 

“Some were seen in local bathroom stalls shooting up. People are now buying heroin in our parking lots and shooting up in the bathrooms,” Russo said. 

This issue was discussed during the business session of the Cottonwood Heights City Council Meeting on Oct. 10. 

“There was a meeting at the state capitol today about Rio Grande,” Russo said. “The state was there, along with the county mayor’s office, city mayor’s office, Utah Department of Transportation and the health department.” 

One of the results of this meeting was a request for the chiefs around the valley. They hope to have a data set of coded reports that deal with people from the Rio Grande. 

“It really needs to be at the chief’s level because it’s an important topic,” Russo said.

On Oct. 3, Councilman Mike Peterson and City Manager John Park reported on a Conference of Mayors meeting they attended the previous week. “The main topic of the meeting was the challenge that the county has had with the Rio Grande area and breaking up the homeless congregation.”

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