File – Logan City Police Chief Gary Jensen (Courtesy: Shanda Call).
LOGAN — The chief of the Logan City Police Department issued a statement on behalf of his officers, in the wake of George Floyd’s death. The statement came as the latest rash of anger has been directed at law enforcement members throughout the country, including rallies around the state.
Chief Gary Jensen said his officers and staff have also been saddened and angered by Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin’s actions. Watching the video of Floyd’s death has incensed him and everyone else in the department.
“That video hurt me personally and hurt me professionally, to watch that happen,” said Jensen.
The department trains officers several times per year regarding all aspects of police response to different types of service calls, from traffic stops to domestic violence. They train on implicit stereotyping, crisis intervention, de-escalation techniques, mental health intervention and appropriate uses of force.
Jensen explained how his administration reviews weekly all use-of-force incidents if any have occurred. That includes evaluating body camera and in-car video. They assess the officer’s ability to listen, show compassion, while at the same time being firm in dealing with crime or criminality.
“We know each of these officers individually. We know who they are. We know what makes them tick, personally and professionally. We watch them and I have a reverence for how they do their job. As I watch these use-of-force videos, it proves to me better everyday that these officers have the best interest of everybody they deal with.”
The chief’s comments came the same day a group of individuals gathered at the Historic Cache County Courthouse to hold a “Black Lives Matter” protest. The group held signs and waived to motorists driving along Main St.
Jensen said when he learned about the group, he and Assistant Chief Jeff Simmons loaded up a cooler of drinks and pizzas to give to them. He admitted that there was a little apprehension at first, as they approached the group and offered them the food.
“When they watched us get out with pizzas, drinks and engage them with elbow bumps and conversation, it was great. It was what I needed and quite frankly I think it was what they needed. Those kinds of things speak volumes when you’re trying to do good things to make this situation heal.”
Recently, the police department has also dealt with an increase of scrutiny, as people questioned the hiring of Officer Miguel Deras. The former U of U officer allegedly kept explicit photos of Lauren McCluskey on his cellphone and bragged about it, prior to her murder. An investigation into the allegations has been launched.
Jensen once again praised the citizens of Logan and expressed hope, he and his officers can continue to merit the trust of the community. He said the department is made better by the citizens that make up the community.
“Obviously, I would like to be trusted. We have to everyday continue to earn that trust and not step outside the lines. We recognize that.”
Jensen hopes the past week will help law enforcement and citizens be able to come together and better understand the difficulties each other face.