St. George Police Department Chief Kyle Whitehead spent most of his career not having to worry about whether his bodycam was turned on when he had an encounter with a criminal.

Now, bodycams are mandatory for St. George City, but Whitehead said on The Andy Griffin Show that it hasn't really changed the way policemen act.

"Mostly it's made the job easier," he said. "It's definitely something that's very useful in court. It's great to have that recording and to be able to document everything accurately in your report.

"I've been with SGPD 23 years and we've only had body cameras since 2016. I've worked with a lot of officers on a lot of cases and I never saw any misconduct or bending the rules. These are good people and the bodycams only serve to protect them."

Nationwide, about 50 percent of police forces have mandatory body cameras, although that number jumps to 80 percent when looking at large (city) police departments.

Whitehead said the intention of body-worn cameras is noble and he has observed the public in general being more well-behaved if they know the bodycam is recording.

Here are some findings, anecdotally, that help support the use of body-worn cameras by police officers (from the National Institute of Justice website):

Six of the body-worn cameras programs were rated promising —

  • CrimeSolutions rated the use of body-worn cameras to reduce citizen fatality rates as Promising. Agencies that acquired cameras had statistically significant decreases in fatal police–citizen encounters after three years, compared with agencies that did not acquire cameras. Read the program profile Effects of Body-Worn Cameras on Reducing Rates of Citizen Fatalities.
  • In Birmingham, UK, evaluators found that deploying body-worn cameras resulted in a statistically significant reduction in citizen injury, but no statistically significant reduction in officer use of force or injury. Read the program profile Police Body-Worn Cameras (Birmingham South, UK).
  • In Rialto, CA, evaluators found a statistically significant reduction in police use-of-force but no significant difference in citizen complaints. Read the program profile Police Body-Worn Cameras (Rialto, Calif.).
  • In Las Vegas, Nevada, and evaluation of the Metropolitan Police Department’s use of body-worn cameras revealed that the use of body-worn cameras resulted in a statistically significant reduction in both complaints and use of force. Read the program profile Body-Worn Cameras (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
  • In Phoenix, AZ, evaluators found body-worn camera use resulted in statistically significant decreases in citizen complaints, and there were mixed results regarding camera use on arrest rates. There were no statistically significant differences in citizen resistance. There was a statistically significant increase in use of force, and less proactive, officer-initiated contact. Read the program profile Police Body-Worn Cameras (Phoenix, Arizona).
  • In a separate study in Phoenix, AZ, evaluators looked at a program that equips police with on-officer cameras to record contacts with civilians during intimate-partner violence incidents. Camera use was statistically significantly more likely to result in arrests, charges filed, cases furthered, and both guilty pleas and verdicts. There was no statistically significant difference in sentence length. However, there was a statistically significantly greater reduction in case processing time in cases not involving a camera. Read the program profile Police Body-Worn Cameras for Intimate-Partner Violence Cases (Phoenix, Ariz.).

Three of the body-worn camera programs evaluated were found to have no, limited, or even negative effects —

There are also logistical problems. The body-worn cameras are expensive ($500 each to start, plus server/storage subscription fees that can be exorbitant).

Storing the data, and then accessing it can be nightmarish as well.

Ultimately, the technology will come around and the use of body-worn cameras will be commonplace, even ubiquitous.

SGPD bodycams have to be activated manually by the police officer. Also, according to Utah statute,

  • An officer shall wear the body-worn camera so that it is clearly visible to the person being recorded.
  • An officer shall activate the body-worn camera prior to any law enforcement encounter, or as soon as reasonably possible.
  • An officer shall record in an uninterrupted manner until after the conclusion of a law enforcement encounter, except as an interruption of a recording is allowed under this section.

But even now, the use of body-worn cameras is becoming a valuable tool in police work.

"I think it keeps everybody on better behavior when they know that there's a camera that's recording, officers and the public alike" Whitehead said, "We noticed as soon as we went to cameras, people seemed to be a little bit calmer."

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Grading Utah: Poverty A+, Education B, But Utah Fails At This ...

Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash
Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash
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Governor Spencer J. Cox recently flooded social media with a bit of a pride boast.

In his Instagram, Facebook and X posts, he touts the great advantages of living in the state of Utah.

Utah receives high grades for low poverty (second in the nation to only Vermont), high charitable contributions, a humming economy and the lowest unemployment rate in America.

But one area Cox fails to mention is Utah's wage/housing discrepancy.

On average, a full-time worker in the state of Utah makes $49,306 a year, ranking the Beehive State as 45th out of our 50 states.

Shift over to the average price of a single-family dwelling in the state, $588,862, and you can see the wage/housing price difference is staggering.

It's simple math. If a family has two working adults who both have full-time jobs, they'll draw a little under $99,000 a year.

To purchase a home with 10 percent down (that's a staggering $59,000), the housing payment at the current interest rate of 7.5 percent for a 30-year fixed mortgage would be $3,412 a month.

Back to the working couple: at $99,000 a year, minus about $25,000 in taxes, leaves them with about $6,166 a month to try and get a house.

If they bring home $6,100, but need $3,400 for a house payment, well that just doesn't work.

No bank in the world would touch a couple with a 56-percent debt ratio.

So, yes, I am very proud to live in this gorgeous state with epic views, world-class outdoor sports and a big heart that takes care of the less fortunate.

But when it comes to getting our young families a place to live, Utah fails with a capital "F."

Utah rankings:

  • Poverty Ratio -- No. 2 in the nation -- A+
  • Charitable contributions -- No. 1 in the nation -- A+
  • Unemployment -- No. 1 in the nation -- A+
  • Happiness quotient -- No. 1  in the nation -- A+
  • Economic outlook -- No. 1  in the nation -- A+
  • Health insurance coverage -- No. 2  in the nation -- A+
  • Women's equality -- No. 50 (out of 50)  in the nation -- F
  • Median income -- No. 45  in the nation -- D-
  • Housing affordability -- No. 42  in the nation -- D
  • Air quality -- No. 45 in the nation -- D
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Loneliness Epidemic: Tragic Incident In American Fork Highlights The Issue

Photo by Breno Assis on Unsplash
Photo by Breno Assis on Unsplash
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Don't know if you saw this story from the other day, but it makes me sad:

(American Fork, UT)  --  Authorities say an elderly couple was found dead inside an American Fork home after a welfare check.  Neighbors said they hadn't seen the couple since November, so police conducted a check at the home on North Center Street.  Police say it's difficult to know what happened to the bodies due to their state of decomposition, but added that their deaths appeared to be suspicious.  The couple's names haven't been released yet.

Of course it is sad that this older couple passed away, especially if they find that there was foul play involved.

But what makes the story even more sad is the fact that nobody thought to check on the older couple for more than a month (maybe two).

Did they not have any kids or grandkids? Were they members of their local church community? Did they have any friends or loved ones that wondered about them?

We should take this as a lesson.

According to statistics compiled by Meta-Gallup, one in four adults feels lonely often. More than half of people surveyed admitted to feeling lonely at least occasionally.

United States Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy warns that "Loneliness and isolation represent profound threats to our health and well-being."

Murthy counters that with the idea that we each have the power to combat this epidemic of loneliness: "We have the power to respond. By taking small steps every day to strengthen our relationships, and by supporting community efforts to rebuild social connection, we can rise to meet this moment together. We can build lives and communities that are healthier and happier. And we can ensure our country and the world are better poised than ever to take on the challenges that lay ahead. Our future depends on what we do today."

There's a cool website called Love For Our Elders that is just one of many charities out there trying to make a difference, with their idea being to write letters to the lonely.

See if you can make a difference today!

The Lethal Power Of Carfentanil: 10,000 Times Stronger Than Morphine

Photo by Engin Akyurt: https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-photo-of-woman-with-black-and-purple-eye-shadow-1475426/
Photo by Engin Akyurt: https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-photo-of-woman-with-black-and-purple-eye-shadow-1475426/
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Fentanyl is deadly and addictive. And now it's got a stronger, deadlier brother in Carfentanil.

"It's 50 to 100 times stronger, more concentrated than Fentanyl," said Southwest Utah Public Health director Dr. David Blodgett Wednesday on the Andy Griffin Show. "It's intended use is as a tranquilizer for elephants."

According to the website recoveryways.com, Carfentanil (or Carfentanyl) is "a synthetic opioid that users combine with heroin to increase its euphoric effects. It is 10,000 times stronger than morphine and 100 times stronger than Fentanyl. As such, it is easy to overdose on Carfentanyl."

The side effects of the drug are epically bad.

The most common ones: coma or death. If a person takes the smallest amount, they risk a fatal overdose. Recoveryways.com says  there are other common symptoms similar to other opioids, such as:

  • Inability to focus or concentrate
  • Runny nose or watery eyes
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Muscle ache
  • Fluctuations in body temperature

Users also report experiencing long-term insomnia and excessive sweating. If you or someone you know has experienced the side effects of Carfentanyl, you should seek emergency medical attention immediately.

Has this deadly drug reached us here in the Beehive State?

"It's most definitely here," Blodgett said. "And it's going to get more and more common."

The most common way people are using the new drug is to combine it with another drug (like heroin) to boost the euphoric feeling it provides. Blodgett pointed out that unfortunately the need for a stronger and stronger hit is necessary as the body gets used to the drugs.

"The need for more gets stronger, but the side effects do not lessen until eventually the user takes so much that the body can't handle the side effects and that person overdoses," he said.

Carfentanyl is an odorless, white powder and is an analogue of the synthetic opioid fentanyl and is one of the most potent opioids known and used commercially.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), it has a quantitative potency approximately 10,000 times that of morphine, 100 times that of fentanyl, and 50 times that of heroin. It is marketed under the trade name Wildnil® as a general anesthetic for large animals. Carfentanyl is not for human use.

Blodgett said Carfentanyl can be absorbed through the skin and could cause death even with the slightest casual contact with the drug.

Killer Kitty: World's Deadliest Cat Is Here In Utah

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It's not very likely that your beloved kitty is going to turn on you.

And even if it did, the odds of a housecat doing any real damage to a human are pretty slim. Your average tabby wouldn't harm a mouse and at an average kill rate of around 25 percent (that's the rate that a predator is successful when it decides to go after prey -- usually in the wild), Luna or Tom isn't the most effective killer in the world.

So what is?

Believe it or not, lions and tigers have a kill rate at only about 25 percent. That means three-fourths of the animals those big cats go after get away.

Leopards are a bit more successful, achieving prey kill rates at 38 percent.

Another fairly big cat -- and one with the reputation of being the fastest animal on the planet -- the cheetah, has a kill rate of 58 percent.

The cheetah's biggest problem is after the kill. Because of its relatively small size in comparison with lions, tigers and even leopards, cheetahs lose about 10 percent of their kills when those larger predators come and take them away.

But the best killers in the cat family hardly look the part at all. The black-footed cat, all of three pounds of fuzzy cuteness (check out these photos on Deseret.com), has a successful kill rate of 60 percent.

According to Discoverwildlife.com, this adorable kitty is a super efficient killer.

"Black-footed cats are astonishingly active and successful nocturnal hunters – one scientist’s observations show they make a hunting attempt every 30 minutes, and are successful 60% of the time, making them one of the world's most efficient predators They eat a wide variety of prey, from gerbils and shrews to small birds and insects, and make 10-14 kills every night."

Utah's own Hogle Zoo recently brought in a black-footed cat named Gaia.

If you'd like to visit Gaia, you can see her at the Hogle Zoo.

“As Gaia settles into her new home in the Small Animal Building, you might notice curtains or barriers around her space. We appreciate your help in keeping noise low while she gets acquainted,” Hogle Zoo officials told Deseret.com.

 

Mythbusters! Utah Medical Expert Demolishes Common Health Myths

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Dr. David Blodgett, who is the director of the Southwest Utah Public Health Department and is the former chief resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital in New York, stopped by the Andy Griffin Show Wednesday and put his brilliant mind to work settling some of the medical myths (or are they?) that we've all believed since our mamas told them to us way back when.

Myth No. 1 -- If you pull one gray hair, several more will grow back in its place.

Not true. Blodgett says: "Gray hair comes about from several different factors ... genetics, and aging when your body doesn't produce enough of the chemicals it takes to keep your hair whatever color it originally was."

Myth No. 2 -- You need to drink eight glasses (64 ounces) of water every day.

Not true. Blodgett says: "This is one of those where nobody can figure out where that recommendation came from. Is it healthy to drink plenty of water? Yes. But is eight a magic number and we need to get there? The answer is no, and most people don't."

Myth No. 3 -- You shouldn't hold in a sneeze.

True. Blodgett says: "I used to hold them in all the time, but then I went and got eye surgery and my surgeon said, 'Whatever you do, don't hold your sneeze in because it increases the pressure in your whole cranial cavity.'"

Myth No. 4 -- Dropped food is OK to eat as long as you pick it up within five seconds

Not true. Blodgett says: "If it's a contaminated surface and you drop something on it, it doesn't matter how long it's there. It will get contaminated."

Myth No. 5 -- People shrink as they age

True. Blodgett says: "It's true, you get smaller as you get older and you also get smaller as the day goes on. Gravity takes over. You compress a little with the weight of the day. And you see a substantial change with people over the span of a lifetime."

Myth No. 6 -- Exercise before bed disrupts sleep

True. Blodgett says: "Generally, exercise within about two hours of going to bed will interfere with sleep. However, there are some exercises (like Yoga) that could actually help with sleep."

Myth No. 7 -- Stress causes myriad health problems, even death

True. Blodgett says: "Stress does cause all kinds of health issues, but it is so hard to quantify. We do know that work is important, and play is important. It's balance in life that you need."

Myth No. 8 -- Eggs are bad for you.

Not true. Blodgett says: "There are few things in life that have a perfect balance of protein, and the egg is one of them. Eggs are about as good a food as you're going to find."

Myth No. 8 -- Microwaves and GMO plants cause cancer

Not true. Blodgett says: "They just don't."

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