Police Needed for 2002 Olympics
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ The head of security for the 2002 Winter Games plans to ask the nation’s police chiefs to commit up to 1,000 officers to help ensure safety during the Olympics.
Planners predict 3,500 officers will be needed during the two-week Olympics in February 2002. About 1,300 officers from venue cities in Utah have so far been committed, Utah Department of Public Safety Commissioner Craig Dearden said.
Dearden, also chairman of the Utah Olympic Public Safety Command, will make his pitch for officers at the International Association of Chiefs of Police convention in San Diego next week.
Dearden said he is encouraged that dozens of officers from the United States and abroad have asked to participate. He said Australia, Greece and Italy have already promised to send officers.
``There are only about 4,000 officers in our state,″ Dearden said. ``We are going to need some help.″
Dearden said he will ask the chiefs to pay the officer’s salaries. In return, UOPSC will provide housing, food and other expenses.
``That’s how they did it in Atlanta and that’s what we are hoping to do,″ Dearden said. There were a half-dozen Utah officers in Atlanta for the 1996 Summer Games, mostly to observe, said Christopher Kramer, UOPSC spokesman.
Mayors in several non-venue Utah cities have expressed reluctance to commit officers for the games, arguing it would leave their cities exposed. They also contend paying replacement officers could create a budget crunch.
Dearden said UOPSC is considering paying for additional shifts for Utah police departments that provide officers and find themselves understaffed.