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Salt Lake City prosecutors, who handle misdemeanor cases, would be overseen by the Salt Lake County district attorney's office in a proposed pilot project meant to save cash.
The official who would oversee this merger, District Attorney Sim Gill, was the city's chief prosecutor before twice winning his elected county post.
"I managed that office for 10 years," he said. "I am familiar with it. I know the people who are there. I have a relationship with the Salt Lake City Police Department."
The City Council and the County Council would have to sign off before the offices could be intermingled. If that happens, the merger could take place as soon as Sept. 1. City prosecutors would remain on the city's payroll but would be managed by Gill and his team.
The idea is that linking the offices would produce efficiencies of scale in screening cases, paperwork and providing intervention for suspects who need drug or mental-health treatment. Gill said putting the city prosecutors under his purview also would give him a place to hire new, talented law graduates who have served as clerks.
"It is a win-win fiscally. It is a win-win holistically," he said, adding that the city and the county would split any financial savings.
The main difference between the two offices involves the cases each handles. City prosecutors generally try misdemeanor cases in justice courts. Their counterparts at the district attorney's office take on a mixture of felonies and misdemeanors in state courts.
This consolidation idea has been negotiated between city Mayor Ralph Becker and county Mayor Ben McAdams.
"This pilot program will help us find ways to effectively and collaboratively manage the criminal caseload," McAdams said in a news release, "while providing high-quality regional services."