The local authorities are often criticized, sometimes perhaps playfully but other times with ill feelings, for their style of law enforcement.
"Why would Park City police officers or Summit County deputies spend their hours patrolling for speeders on busy roads?" is one of the common refrains.
But people this week should be grateful for the diligent work of the Park City Police Department and the Summit County Sheriff's Office in a narcotics case that may have shocked those few who, wrongly, still see area crime as being of little consequence.
The two agencies joined law enforcement in the Salt Lake Valley in an operation that was centered in Prospector targeting a suspected methamphetamine ring. Three people were arrested as the operation was sprung. Seventeen pounds of methamphetamine, a stunning amount for a Park City bust, was seized. The authorities discovered nearly $17,000 in cash.
The amount of the methamphetamine that was seized is disturbing, far more so than the amount of cash. The drug was presumed to be destined for the streets of the region, including the Park City area, and the damage it could have left behind is tremendous.
Even more disturbing, though, according to the law enforcement officials, is that the case is linked to a violent Mexican cartel. If that is found to be the case, the authorities face a challenge greater than some may have realized, even in Park City.
The manner of the investigation and the arrests offer encouragement that law enforcement understands the severity of a case like the one that has been outlined against the suspects. There was apparently quick cooperation -- no turf wars between local and federal agencies that could have delayed or disrupted the investigation after the first leads were developed.
The cooperation needs to continue beyond the case in Prospector, and the officials have said as much. Future investigations will hopefully be modeled after the one announced this week even as the circumstances of the cases change.
The methamphetamine case in Park City, regardless, shows that police officers and sheriff's deputies are conducting the investigations they need to even as a regular person might only see them pulling over drivers.