Update: Operation Rio Grande

August 14, 2017

Early this morning, the Salt Lake City Police Department partnering with the state Department of Public Safety began a strategic operation in the Rio Grande neighborhood (Operation Rio Grande), targeting the criminal element in the area.

This operation is the product of months of work between the State, County, and City to align and maximize resources for success. It has also been influenced by earlier efforts, like Operation Diversion in 2016. What we learned then—and since then—has helped guide today’s effort.

What we know…

In order to improve efforts to assist those who are in the area to receive help—which is not a crimewe must eliminate the criminal element, which hides and preys on the vulnerable.

In order to weaken the hold of criminals in the area, law enforcement efforts must be targeted and consistent. This operation will be ongoing, with a commitment from the State to partner with the City and County for two-years.

Law enforcement personnel must have the resources they need to hold criminals accountable—which they will now have through expanded jail space.

To address the addiction crisis we are facing, we must treat those dealing with substance use disorder, not criminalize them. This operation, and ongoing programs, is dedicated to expanding treatment options.

We also know that this operation may result in criminal activity moving to other neighborhoods temporarily. Critically, law enforcement has anticipated this and has included an intelligence-driven response plan to address this movement and displacement in real time.


Many who have contacted the Mayor’s Office over the last few months, while expressing concern, have also asked how they can help and get involved.

First, visit www.slchost.org to learn about the programs available to those in need and make a donation of support.

You can also help by bringing activity to the area with a visit to the Saturday Farmer’s Market in Pioneer Park or by attending a Twilight concert on Thursday night!

The public is also invited to a stakeholder meeting this Tuesday, August 15th beginning at 4:00pm at the former Dick’s Sporting Goods at the Gateway.

Salt Lake City will always welcome those in need of help and hope, and we will do everything in our power to hold accountable those who would rob that from us.

We are committed to improving our City and bettering the lives of all those who call Salt Lake City home. Thank you for you support and patience as we tackle this issue together. As this latest operation unfolds, we will work diligently to keep you updated.


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