Utah State Capitol— The phrase of the day was “bedside manners”. Senator Todd Weiler asks POST (Police Officer Standards and Training)– “How do you teach officers to have good bedside manners?” The POST Director didn’t believe this phrase appropriate for their type of training. But he talked about their training in “deescalation techniques.” and hours of scenarios officers receive for handling stressful situations.
Steve Unger has very good bedside manners and he was able to address the Senate for about 10 minutes beginning by demonstrating his now famous dance moves that got his arrested and cited with three charges, which have now been dismissed.
Then, in detail Unger recounted his interaction with Cottonwood Heights Police Department and how they mistreated him. He said that during his encounter he was the only person making attempts to “deescalate the situation.” Unger’s testimony was compelling, well-spoken, he was very measured and articulate. But he is afterall a very well educated, “white guy”, he recognizes that he is a linch pin for a much greater issue than just himself being detaianed in a very hot cop car for over an hour.
Sitting in the audience was Jim Stojack. Stojack is the Owner of the Canyon Inn. But Jim is loud, bombastic and brash. He has been called by Cottonwood Heights Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore a “rabble rouser.” and you might say Stojact doesn’t have the best “bedside manners.”
But I know personally Jim loves his wife and children and he is probably very nice at their bedsides. Jim’s bar is being put out of business in part due to alleged CHPD targeted harassment. The senate didn’t have time to hear his story, nor did they likely want to. It seemed like certain Senators were dragging on the most boring parts of the committee meeting likely because they wanted to fillibuster the public input and the stories of residents who were at the subcommittee hearing. The hearing was on improving usage and decisions for when police use force–their graphs, charts and numbers can tell them how to improve police interactions. The POST Director can tell them what a great job he is doing, certainly the public really have nothing to offer.
We learn that one half of one percent of all incidents do police actually use “force”. But force is defined as a incident when the police are required pull out a weapon or put a person in a armhold. “Force” is not defined as detaining a person in a patrol vehicle, handcuffing a person, nor intimidating a business owners or their customers, so the committee hearing never actually came around to the topic of conversation that brought the dozens of residents to the Senate committee meeting today.
However it was on a positive note to see Unger represent the larger community. But after Unger’s testimony Senator Senator Paul Ray said, ” I really don’t even know why we are listening to this.” A really great question. Why should a state senator ever listen to a non-political person who has no power? I think at least three of the Senators had no interest at all in “listening” they just wanted to watch a man dance in their chambers.