Sundance’s cast includes lots of police officers
January 18, 2013
The cast of the Sundance Film Festival includes lots of police officers.
The Park City Police Department expects it could have more officers working at any one time during Sundance when compared to last year’s festival.
The staffing decisions were made as a result of an internal evaluation after the 2012 festival that determined the police wanted more officers on patrol during Sundance. The Police Department does not release detailed information like how many officers are on duty and their precise assignments.
Phil Kirk, a police captain who was involved in the department’s planning for Sundance, said the officers will be given varied assignments. Some will be stationed at Sundance venues like theaters while others will be roving as they respond to issues related to the festival. Many of the officers, meanwhile, will be conducting traffic patrols at fixed locations.
Kirk said the number of officers on duty during Sundance will be more than double the number of a typical day. The Police Department bolsters the numbers with assistance from outside law enforcement agencies. They could include the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, the Police Department in Kamas and state Adult Probation and Parole.
Kirk anticipates logging between 60 and 70 hours on duty during the festival.
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"Personally, I think it’s a lot of fun. It’s kind of an exciting time for us," Kirk said.
Sundance is normally the busiest stretch of the year for the Police Department. The number of cases, many of them minor, usually climbs sharply from a typical week, particularly during the opening weekend of the festival.
Kirk said calls about alcohol-related problems, noise and overcrowded buildings spike during the festival. He said there are also more cases involving violations of municipal codes during Sundance. The violations could include passing out handbills on public streets or operating a business without the proper license.
There are oftentimes demonstrations during Sundance that require a police presence. The demonstrations are sometimes scheduled shortly beforehand, and it was not clear by the middle of the week whether there would be any significant protests. Animal-rights groups, a conservative church and anti-war protesters have held demonstrations in Park City during previous film festivals.
Kirk said officers practice "good common sense judgment" while policing during the festival. The Police Department does not provide special treatment to celebrities in Park City for the festival, Kirk said. There are times, though, when officers respond to a scene when a celebrity attracts a large group of fans.
"We try not to treat anybody differently than anybody else," Kirk said.
The Summit County Sheriff’s Office does not increase staffing levels for Sundance. The Sheriff’s Office will have security duties at the two Sundance venues in its jurisdiction, Temple Har Shalom and Redstone 8 Cinemas.
Sheriff Dave Edmunds said deputies during Sundance normally handle an increased number of traffic calls and alcohol cases.
"This is not new. This is not our first rodeo," Edmunds said.