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Salt Lake police chief best choice for mayor?

Chris Burbank
Chris Burbank

Glendale resident Steve Jones doesn't believe mayoral candidates Dave Buhler and Ralph Becker plan to do enough to support Salt Lake City's police force, so he's spearheading a write-in campaign of someone he believes will.

His choice: Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Burbank.

Motivated by increased crime in Glendale, specifically a July shooting and car chase along 900 West, Jones and some of his neighbors decided the best way to make sure police have adequate personnel to do their jobs was to put the chief of police in charge of the city's budget.

They had 150 bumper stickers printed and even went down to City Hall to register for an official write-in campaign. The latter effort failed because Burbank lives outside of the city, making him ineligible to run.

"That's OK," Jones said, "because the idea of writing him in as mayor is to get the city to hire enough police. We hope one of the other candidates will pick up on this and do something to help our police."

Until that happens, they'll give out bumper stickers to those who want them and encourage voters to demand more support for the city's police force by casting a write-in vote for Burbank.

The group of residents is acting without the approval of Burbank, who said he's flattered by the gesture but doesn't think casting a write-in ballot for him would be in voters' best interest.

"I would encourage people to make a very informed decision," he said. "I wouldn't want anyone to waste their vote on me. We have two very qualified candidates for voters to choose from."

Burbank acknowledged that his department is understaffed for a city of about 182,000 people, especially since Salt Lake City's daytime population tops 300,000, he said. The police chief said he plans to work with the city's next mayor and City Council to achieve his goal of adding 10 new officers per year for the next 10 years.

As for bumper stickers, Burbank said the one he received in the mail won't be making an appearance on any of his vehicles.

"I think I'll keep that in my book of remembrance," he said.


E-mail: jpage@desnews.com