FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 20, 2020
Salt Lake City, UT – During a discussion on police K9 certifications during a Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee meeting earlier today, Senator Don Ipson made controversial comments about complaints about use of police dogs. Sen. Ipson voted to explore the issue in a future bill, but advocated, “Just don’t make it restrictive.” “I don’t have a lot of sympathy,” he said. “We don’t want to harm the public. But if they don’t want to get bit, stay home.”
These discussions about regulating the use of police dogs come on the heels of a widely reported incident where an officer ordered a dog to bite a Black man who was already compliant with police. That officer has since been charged with a felony.
Lauren Simpson, policy director for Alliance for a Better Utah, issued the following statement:
“It is absolutely appalling that Sen. Ipson would make such a terrible statement in support of police violence. As a lawmaker, his job is to set policy with the safety and security of Utahns in mind. Suggesting that people should just ‘stay home’ if they don’t want to experience police brutality is truly one of the more obscene things to be uttered recently by a sitting lawmaker in Utah.
“We depend on our police system to keep us safe. Whenever that system fails us, it falls on our elected officials to make the structural changes needed to make sure that never happens again. Jeffery Ryans should never have been bitten by a police dog. The Legislature cannot change that, but they have a responsibility to ensure that the pattern of abuse ends.”
Alliance for a Better Utah is a nonprofit that holds politicians accountable and advocates for progressive policies that make Utah an even better place. The organization improves the lives of all Utahns through advocacy, transparency, and accountability in Utah politics, policy, and government. More information at www.betterutah.org.