DA receives approval for Operation Rio Grande attorneys

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - The Salt Lake County Council approved funding Tuesday for two attorneys and a paralegal to help with the influx of cases from Operation Rio Grande. District Attorney Sim Gill said it's a necessary part of the overall plan.

The county will provide more than $600,000 over the next two years. There was some hesitation from the council because the money is being asked for outside the normal budgeting process.

Council Chairman Steve DeBry asked why the the duties couldn't be done by attorney for several positions that are in the process of being filled.

"I'm saying let's still proceed, but we should proceed with what we already have in the coffers instead of adding to it," said DeBry.

Gill said those openings are to replace current positions, and that his office is already stretched thin on regular case load.

"What we've talked about here is an invested prosecution which is above and beyond the resources I have available," said Gill.

The DA did have to clarify an email from someone in his office which insinuated that without the approval in funding they would not be able to prosecute the cases from Rio Grande arrests.

"When I say that we will not participate in Operation Rio Grande, what I mean is that we will not be able to follow through in the invested prosecution," said Gill. "The extra work load that we have committed our selves to to problem solve that issue."

The new positions will require prosecutors to follow up on arrests, and figure out which course of action is best for trail. Including drug court, mental health services, or regular judicial system.


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