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Utah Coalition Raises Concerns Regarding Olympic Impact On Rights

01 September 1999 Published in Local Policy Work

ACLU of Utah Writes Public Safety Commissioner Craig Dearden


September 2, 1999

Commissioner Craig Dearden
Department of Public Safety
4501 South 2700 West
Box 141775
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-1775

Dear Commissioner Dearden,

Thank you for taking the time last week to meet with representatives from Salt Lake Impact 2002 & Beyond. As we noted, the Olympic security effort has the potential to negatively affect our constituents. We are therefore pleased to begin our discussions with you at this early stage.

Enclosed are notes from our meeting. Please review these and make any changes to ensure that we have the correct information about the structure and responsibilities of the Utah Olympic Public Safety Command.

At our meeting, you committed to finding out:

1. If we can get on the agenda for the Olympic Command’s next meeting, which we understand, will take place sometime in October or November. At that time, we would like to introduce ourselves to committee members and talk about some of our concerns and recommendations;
2. If we can have a list of the twenty-six Olympic Command subcommittees, as well as contact information for committee chairs;
3. The name and contact information of the individual who chairs the judicial subcommittee;
4. If we can be a part of the process to create free speech zones; and
5. The role of the INS in the Olympic Command.

Thank you for being available to answer our initial questions. We look forward to meeting again with you and other representatives from the Olympic Command.


Cori Sutherland
Deputy Director

Notes from the Meeting between Utah State Public Safety Commissioner Craig Deaden and Salt Lake Impact 2002 & Beyond Wednesday August 25, 1999


Archie Archuleta, Utah Coalition of La Raza
Glenn Bailey, Crossroads Urban Center
Craig Dearden, Utah Department of Public Safety
Karen Denton, Homeless Children’s Foundation
Maria Garciaz, Salt Lake Neighborhood Housing Services
Linda Hilton, Coalition of Religious Communities
Cori Sutherland, American Civil Liberties Union of Utah

The Olympic Command Structure

As the state Public Safety Commissioner, Craig Dearden is ultimately responsible for public safety and security during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Dearden is the head of the Utah Olympic Public Safety Command, a 20-member committee that is coordinating the Olympic security effort. Salt Lake City Police Chief Ruben Ortega is the Command’s vice-chair and Marv Smalley represents the Salt Lake Olympic Committee.

The Command includes representatives from:

Law enforcement agencies from the venue cities and counties, including Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Ogden, Weber County, Wasatch County, Summit County, Park City, Provo, and West Valley.
The University of Utah Campus Police Department.
The Utah Highway Patrol.
The Public Works Department.
The Fire Department.
Federal agencies including the FBI, ATF, the Forrest Service, the Secret Service, and possibly, the INS.
The Salt Lake Olympic Committee.

The Olympic Command oversees a planning group that in turn oversees twenty-six subcommittees. Assistant Chief Larry Stott represents Chief Ortega and Captain Bergen represents Commissioner Dearden on this planning group.

Currently, the Command meets every other month. They will meet monthly as we get closer to the 2002 Olympics.

The Responsibilities of the Olympic Command

The Command can only make recommendations to the public and private agencies involved in the Olympic security effort. Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and SLOC private security will make their own decisions about enforcement, grievance procedures, and training.

Dearden has no jurisdiction over private security forces or federal agencies. Marv Smalley is responsible for private security hired by SLOC, and Salt Lake Impact should contact him with questions and concerns. Dearden noted that federal agents will interact with individuals only if a federal crime is committed, such as the bombing during the 1996 summer Olympics. Olympic security will involve over 3500 officers from state and local law enforcement agencies. Dearden has complete oversight only over Utah State Troopers.

Decisions about Enforcement

During the Olympics, public law enforcement will be responsible for everything “outside the fence” and private security hired by SLOC will be responsible for enforcing Olympic rules inside venue areas. Public law enforcement will get involved if an incident with private security turns into a crime, such as disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace.

Law enforcement agencies will be responsible for policing venue areas that fall within their normal jurisdictions. Because of the scope of this task, however, outside law enforcement will most likely be involved as well.

Dearden said he can’t imagine an instance in which the Olympic Command would petition city councils and county commissioners to strengthen ordinances to make it easier to clear the streets. It is important to keep in mind, however, that local law enforcement agencies are autonomous, and it will therefore be up to individual agencies to decide whether they will increase enforcement of city ordinances or conduct pre-Olympics felony sweeps.

Dearden suggested that Salt Lake Impact contact the chair of the judicial subcommittee to address concerns about the courts. He mentioned that there may be plans to develop small courts near venue areas that will be able to deal immediately with tickets issued to out-of-state offenders. He also suggested that Salt Lake Impact talk to the Federal Affairs Subcommittee about the INS’s role in the Olympic security effort.

Grievance Procedure

There will not be a central person to contact to register complaints against law enforcement agents and private security officers. Instead, people will need to contact a specific agency. Because of the large number of law enforcement agencies involved in the security effort – Dearden stated that he may even use state troopers from Colorado and Wyoming – those with grievances may be confused about who they need to call. Individuals will need to go through the normal internal affairs process of public law enforcement agencies, and these departments will be open during the Olympics. Salt Lake Impact will contact Smalley to find out what sort of a grievance procedure SLOC will set up to address complaints against their private security officers.

Dearden noted that there is some discussion about an Olympic jacket for city, county, and state law enforcement agents, which would make it easier to identify an officer. Salt Lake Impact will need to talk to Smalley about private security identification.

Free Expression Activities

SLOC and the Olympic Command will work together to create free speech zones, and they have not yet begun to figure out just where these will be located. It is currently unclear whether there will be a free speech zone near every venue. Dearden stated that the Olympic Command will have nothing to do with determining how one gets into a free speech zone. A city permit process will most likely be established for each free speech zone.


The Olympic Command plans to use the National Guard and BYU for language resources. Also, every outside officer will be paired with an officer from the area.

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