The Salt Lake Crime Analysis Unit, sentenced to die a budget-cutting death, is receiving an ever-increasing amount of support from officers inside and outside of the police department.

Salt Lake detectives are circulating a petition asking the police administration to retain the unit if possible. The petition "is an expression of our support for the retention of this unit," said one detective, who was hoping the petition could be kept out of the public forum. "It is to show the administration that the officers who use it give the unit their full support, that it is a valuable commodity and that we need their services."The detective said a significant number of detectives have signed the petition.

Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis has recommended that the department's Crime Analysis Unit be abolished to help meet a citywide 3 percent budget cut. The mayor made the cut on the suggestion of acting Police Chief Ed Johnson, who said the unit is one of the least painful programs that can be cut.

But police officers outside the unit, which has been honored by law enforcement groups for outstanding service, are planning to appeal to the mayor and chief to not eliminate the unit.

Sandy Police Detective Mark James said he is planning to draft a letter to the chief and will circulate it among Sandy officers for their signatures.

He "and other detectives have used the Salt Lake Crime Analysis Unit to do many investigations and have come up with some good suspects."

Recently, James said, the unit helped him identify the burglar who broke into a Sandy home and stole more than $2,000 worth of property.

"When we are at a dead end, the unit gives us some place to start. I will ask (Johnson) that it not be disbanded."

Davis County sheriff's detectives are also concerned about the unit's imminent demise and planned to write a letter to administrators urging them to reconsider cutting it, said sheriff's Detective Dave Bremer.

"It's an excellent resource, the best we have in the state," Bremer said. "We have found their staff to be extremely helpful and professional in working with us and officers from other agencies and from other states. I really believe in that unit. It's important."