Wade Carpenter, the top law enforcement officer in Park City, recently was elected by his peers to serve as the leader of a statewide association of chiefs of police, putting him in a position to influence policing in Utah.
Carpenter had held a leadership position for three years mostly representing a swath of rural areas in the Utah Chiefs of Police Association. He is now serving a one-year term as the president of the organization and could seek re-election to another term. Carpenter said he is the first chief of police from Park City to be elected president of the group.
The association has approximately 104 voting members and another 800 to 1,000 members from the ranks of command staffs. The organization is involved in state-level issues, such as changes in Utah laws that impact police agencies. Carpenter said he was nominated by someone in the organization for the president's position.
Carpenter said, as an example, the association takes positions on topics such as gun laws, changes that could impact the safety of officers and retirement issues.
He said he opposes the idea of allowing people to openly carry guns based on the fact that they are not required to undergo a background check and complete a class, as people who hold permits to carry a concealed weapon must do.
He said allowing someone to have a concealed weapon provides the right to carry a gun. Openly carrying a gun, Carpenter said, "creates alarm.
"It makes a lot of people nervous," he said.
Carpenter, meanwhile, said he wants increased benefits for officers injured in the line of duty for personnel in local law enforcement agencies. He said he wants the benefits to match those afforded state law enforcement personnel.
Carpenter will attend meetings on a weekly basis centered on law enforcement issues during the annual legislative session.
The organization will also have a role in reviewing the operations of the state police academy.
Carpenter is 45 years old and has been the chief of police in Park City since 2008. He was the director of public safety in the Southern Utah city of Ivins when he took the job in Park City. He also has been the public safety director in Brian Head, another community in Southern Utah.
City Hall noted Carpenter's election in an online newsletter, saying that it is "noteworthy that Chief Carpenter's colleagues indicated their confidence and respect by electing him to this very important office." The newsletter indicates he will respond to questions from the media and from other agencies.
Carpenter's election puts Park City and surrounding Summit County in the rare position of having the leaders of the state's police chiefs and the Utah Sheriffs' Association from the local ranks. Dave Edmunds, the Summit County sheriff, is president of the group of sheriffs. He was elected to the leadership position in September of 2011.