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AG Reyes’ Statement on the Verdict in the John Swallow Case

SALT LAKE CITY March 2, 2017 – Attorney General Sean Reyes released the following statement regarding the verdict in the trial of former Utah Attorney General John Swallow:

“I reaffirm my belief in the integrity of our legal system and the importance of constitutional safeguards such as due process and the right to a jury that protect us all as Americans. I have great respect for Judge Hruby-Mills and her careful and judicious management of this matter. I also greatly appreciate the service of the jury and respect its verdict.

“Regardless of the outcome of any given case, we in the Office of the Utah Attorney General support our criminal justice system and its role in protecting citizens and preserving liberties.  We thank all those who serve the public in the criminal justice process from investigators, prosecutors, public defenders, victim advocates, jurors, and corrections personnel to judicial and courtroom staff.

“Regardless of how you feel about the outcome of this case, we should be appreciative of a legal system in America that is not perfect but is among the best in the world. Our belief in and deference to the Rule of Law is the bedrock of that system.”

 

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Utah Attorney General's Office

AG Reyes Expresses Sympathy for Judge Stephen Henriod’s Family

SALT LAKE CITY September 16, 2016 – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes expressed his sympathies for the family of Retired 3rd District Judge Stephen L. Henriod.

“The Office of the Utah Attorney General expresses its sympathies to the family of Judge Stephen L. Henriod, who served for sixteen years on the Third Judicial District Court, overseeing numerous cases. We appreciate all who serve or who have rendered public service on the bench.”

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AG Reyes Statement on National Suicide Prevention Month and the SafeUT App

SALT LAKE CITY September 14, 2016 – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes released the following statement on National Suicide Prevention Month:

“Over the past two years, the Office of the Attorney General has teamed with legislators, state agencies, mental health clinicians, suicide prevention advocates, the faith community, educators, law enforcement, parents and teens to combat the leading cause of death of Utah children, ages 10-17. We can no longer accept the horrible reality that our kids are not only contemplating leaving this life, but actually succeeding in their determination to end it themselves. The shocking tragedy of suicide permeates our state and our children are finding it to be a solution to loneliness, depression, discrimination, anxiety and the devastating pain caused by bullying, harassment, and abuse.

“As I have visited with youth throughout the state over the past two and a half years individually and in groups, I have asked how many of them feel alone, judged, alienated or without hope. I have asked how many have considered hurting themselves or know someone who has or is thinking of ending their lives. I am deeply unsettled and saddened by the response, especially when I see a majority of hands shoot up in a crowd of 500 students.

“Because of this, and the sobering fact that Utah now leads the nation in the rate of teen suicide, I have made it a priority for my office to lead the School Safety and Crisis Line Commission which recently unveiled the new SafeUT app, which is currently being introduced in schools throughout Utah. Those in crisis can now access live trained professionals at any time the way they are used to communicating, through a smart app on their phones.

“Once individuals reach out anonymously through texts, chats or calls, certified clinicians at the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI) respond with support and crisis counseling, including suicide prevention. Whether a crisis is caused by emotional pain, bullying, relationship problems, or mental health challenges, these dedicated professionals have had great success in helping youth throughout our state feel that someone is listening and that they finally have help to navigate their darkest paths.”


The SafeUT app began rolling out to Utah junior high, middle and high schools in early 2016 and will continue to be implemented throughout the state in the 2016-17 school year. In addition to responding to suicide threats, SafeUT is available for those needing help with self-harm, grief and loss, drug and alcohol problems, mental health, abuse, and domestic violence. Further, the app has a safety tip feature that can be used to submit a tip to a school or to law enforcement.

University Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI) SafeUT Website Here

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Key Features of SafeUT

The SafeUT program and app help youth stay healthy and safe in schools by providing high-quality, confidential counseling services. The app’s key features include:

  • Anonymous, confidential, and password protected services

  • Real-time, two-way communication with SafeUT crisis counselors available 24/7

  • Tips can be submitted with picture and/or video

  • Mobile app works with Apple & Android devices

SafeUT’s Crisis Services

Safe UT answers crisis calls, texts, and chats – about yourself or someone else – 24/7. These services are anonymous and confidential. Our counseling topics include:

  • Suicide

  • Self-harm

  • Emotional crisis

  • Grief and loss

  • Drug and alcohol problems

  • Mental health

  • Abuse

  • Impact of domestic violence

 

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AG Reyes Statement on National Preparedness Month

SALT LAKE CITY September 13, 2016 – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes released the following statement on National Preparedness Month:

“Utah has a long tradition of self-reliance dating back to our founding. Whether it is planning for natural disasters, establishing personal financial security, or looking after our own health, preparing for the unexpected is a part of our culture. 

“One of the most important things we can do as a public office is to help prepare Utah citizens and their families with the tools to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their resources. The White Collar Crime Offender Registry, which helps Utahns search a database of convicted white-collar criminals before they invest and the SafeUT app, which gives individuals in crisis direct access to trained professionals, are two technologies our office has collaborated with the legislature and other state agencies to introduce over the past year. In addition, ongoing school internet safety training through NetSmartz helps educate students about best practices for online and social media use, for our children, for dating, and for privacy.

“Whatever the circumstance, during National Preparedness Month we urge Utahns to make and update plans for all contingencies, communicate that plan as a family, and prepare for the unexpected.”

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Utah Attorney General's Office

AG Sean Reyes Statement on National Alcohol and Drug Recovery Month

SALT LAKE CITY September 12, 2016 – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes released the following statement on National Alcohol and Drug Recovery Month:

“According to Utah’s Department of Health, 24 individuals a month in our state die from prescription drug overdoses. Add to that the frightening statistic according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that Utah has the seventh-highest rate of alcohol poisoning deaths in the nation, and we must acknowledge a serious problem exists in our state.

“However, statistics often fail to adequately convey the grief and pain associated with particular challenges. Most of us have been impacted directly or indirectly by the grip of alcohol and drug addiction. Many of us are familiar with stories of how an “innocent few drinks” or prescribed pain medication led to the captivity of someone we know and love.

“No one starts out wanting to be an addict. And the addicts we know are not generally hardened criminals. They are our kids and our neighbors, soccer moms and little league coaches. We owe it to them to find better ways to get them help, treatment, and healing rather than incarceration or judgment.

“I have listened to, counseled with and prayed for both those caught up in the throes of addiction, those on the road to recovery, and some who may have relapsed, as well as their families. I admire many I have known who have struggled to regain their control, dignity, careers, families, and lives and as they fight to break destructive cycles and maintain sobriety.

“As Attorney General, I have come to recognize how alcohol and drugs are intertwined with some of our society’s most serious crimes. Human traffickers drug their victims to ensure that they become controllable and enslaved to addictions. Drug lords continue to push geographic and biological limits. And the majority of petty crimes like burglaries are committed to satisfying opioid and other addictions. The inclination to commit all types of crimes may be increased when one has their conscience blunted by the effects of addictive substances.

“During National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery month, we urge every Utahn to consider how we can work together to prevent addiction and support those on the difficult road to recovery. My team wishes to express our greatest hope and encouragement for those who are already on the path to recovery and those we hope will arrive there. We offer our full support to our state’s clinicians, families, and individuals who fight the battle on a daily basis.”

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Statement on Louisiana and Florida Tragedies

SALT LAKE CITY July 17, 2016  — Attorney General Sean Reyes released the following statement regarding the shootings today in Louisiana:

“The tragedies in Louisiana and Florida this morning only deepen our sorrow as we mourn precious lives lost in such senseless ways at home and abroad over the past several months. Whether American or French lives, law enforcement or civilian lives, regardless of religion, race, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status, our hearts do not discriminate in our grief and our prayers are neither selective nor withheld from sincere expression of love, support and solidarity for friends and loved ones of victims.

“Each of these victims, under other circumstances, could be members of our very own families and are members of our extended global family. On this day, a Sabbath to many around the world, may our prayers and thoughts be united for more peace and understanding locally and globally.”

Utah AG Reyes Statement on the Attack in Nice, France

SALT LAKE CITY July 15, 2016 – Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes released the following statement regarding the attack in Nice, France:

“As we have done far too many times in the recent past, we express our sadness and solidarity for our brothers and sisters across the world. We denounce the cowardly and barbaric attack in Nice, France that took so many innocent lives tonight. Whether or not the perpetrator was affiliated with a known terrorist group, this unthinkable attack was nothing short of an act of terrorism.

“Such tragedies remind us how difficult it is to protect our own communities.  Like those law enforcement officers in France who prevented even further mayhem and carnage, we thank dedicated law enforcement officers locally and nationally for their constant efforts to keep us safe from similar threats.

“May God bless the people of France and the families of victims with His peace and comfort.”

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Utah Clergy Trained on SafeUT App and to Assist Teens in Crisis

AG Reyes, Sen. Thatcher, and SafeUT Commission Urge Churches and

Youth to Seek Summer Crisis Support through SafeUT

SALT LAKE CITY June 6, 2016 — Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, State Senator Daniel Thatcher and University Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI) representatives conducted a training for clergy from across the state on how to use SafeUT app to help teens in crisis. The training, known as “safeTALK,” is a half-day alertness training that prepares anyone over the age of 15, regardless of prior experience or training, to become a suicide-alert helper.

“Suicide is the number one cause of death in our state for children ages 10-17. In fact, the number of teens taking their own lives exceeds the next three teen causes of death all combined,” said Attorney General Reyes. “In the short time since we have introduced the SafeUT app we have already seen kids empowered and lives saved. Today’s training of clergy, from various denominations and ministries, is critical because these men and women yield such influence with the youth in their spiritual care. Our collaboration with clergy, schools, law enforcement, all members of the community along with the professionals at UNI is vital to saving lives.”

“What makes SafeUT so exceptional is that we’ve found a way to connect the people who are in crisis with those who can help,” said Senator Daniel Thatcher. “Suicide is the single deadliest crisis facing our youth. With the SafeUT mobile app, an anonymous chat, text or call could save your life or the life of someone you love. It’s the only way we can tackle something of this magnitude.”

During the six months since the SafeUT app was unveiled, it has been introduced to schools across the state. UNI Representatives have received feedback indicating that the app is working and that lives are being saved. The SafeUT Mobile App provides students confidential and anonymous two-way communication with SafeUT crisis counselors or school staff via one-touch options to “Call Crisisline,” “Chat Crisisline,” or “Submit a Tip.” Students using the mobile app will connect directly to a UNI crisis counselor at the UNI CrisisLine and those calling will be routed to the same. For those who do not have access to a smart phone, the Lifeline number 1-800-273-8255 is also supported by UNI.

Students can download the SafeUT Mobile app at any time and will receive training on how to use SafeUT Services by their school administrators.  The first round of Utah school administrators were trained over the past six months on school implementation. Utah schools are currently participating or will have the opportunity to participate over the next year, but it is not mandatory. As schools enroll in the program, an online tool will be shared to allow students to report crisis or crime through their school’s website.

Most people with thoughts of suicide don’t truly want to die, but are struggling with the pain in their lives. Through their words and actions, they invite help to stay alive. Helpers trained in safeTALK can recognize these invitations and take action by connecting them with life-saving intervention resources. safeTALK-trained helpers are an important part of suicide-safer communities, working alongside intervention resources to identify and avert suicide risks.

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25th Anniversary of the Utah Children’s Justice Program

SALT LAKE CITY May 18, 2016 – Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes released the following statement about the 25th anniversary of the Utah Children’s Justice Program:

“This week we recognize a historic milestone as the Utah Attorney General’s Office celebrates 25 years of the Children’s Justice Center model in Utah. The Children’s Justice Centers (CJCs) provide a homelike, child focused sanctuary for abused children to be interviewed and supported though-out criminal investigations. Cases are handled by a multidisciplinary team of law enforcement, child protective services, prosecutors, medical and mental health providers, and others who help children find their voice and a pathway to justice and healing.

“In 1991, through the efforts of community advocate Grethe Peterson, Weber County Attorney Reed Richards, and Utah legislators Craig Peterson, Lyle Hillyard, and John Valentine, Utah opened its first three centers.  In 1994 the CJCs were incorporated into a program under the Utah Attorney General’s Office, which has expanded services to 22 centers serving 28 counties. The founders envisioned the centers as public-private partnerships, with government and community support, and Utah’s program is now viewed as a model throughout the country. We are grateful to our distinguished founders for their vision, and we congratulate Administrator Tracey Tabet and the directors of the 22 Children’s Justice Centers across the state for 25 years of success.”


To learn more about the important work the CJCs do, please watch the following short video:

Attorney General Statement on National Mental Health Awareness Month

SALT LAKE CITY May 16, 2016 – Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes issued the following statement regarding National Mental Health Awareness Month:

“Whether we realize it or not, most of us know someone who struggles with mental health challenges or that lives with mental illness. By reaching out to embrace and accept those who struggle with such difficulties, we can each help them on the road to management of mental illness and recovery while hopefully ending any stigma associated with mental health issues.

“So many cases in our office, whether civil or criminal, law enforcement or administrative, impact or are impacted by mental health issues. Throughout this month, and the year, let us reach out with acceptance and kindness to those who struggle with mental health problems and accept them for who they are without letting such struggles define them.”

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