Police and parents to partner to tackle issues among Park City youth
When issues affect an entire community, it takes a village to solve them.
On May 14, various members of the community in Park City plan to gather for an event called Front Line and Blue Line: Parents and Police Working Together. The Summit County Sheriff’s Office organized the event in collaboration with the Park City School District, Summit County Health Department and Communities that Care, a prevention planning program that includes various parent, student and community groups. It is scheduled to take place at 6 p.m. at Ecker Hill Middle School and last for a couple of hours.
Andrew Wright, administrative lieutenant for the Sheriff’s Office, said the event will start with a welcoming message from Sheriff Justin Martinez, who will talk about what law enforcement is doing in the district to increase safety in the schools. Sgt. Ron Bridge will speak about the dangers of social media and the internet. Lt. Greg Winterton will discuss substance abuse.
Due to the nature of the presentations, the event is open only to parents and other adults in the community. Park City High School’s National Honor Society will provide childcare for youths between 4 and 11 years old.
Wright said that the event is primarily for parents in the “unincorporated area of the district,” which includes Ecker Hill Middle, Jeremy Ranch Elementary School, Trailside Elementary School and Parley’s Park Elementary School. The Sheriff’s Office plans on repeating the event at the beginning of the upcoming school year at Park City High School.
The main goal of the event is to teach parents about the most common problems law enforcement sees in Summit County youth. The front line referred to in the event name represents parents and educators while the blue line signifies law enforcement.
“We want parents to be educated, because knowledge is power, and we want them to understand what we are seeing at a law enforcement level and what they can do to help us to prevent,” Wright said.
Bridge, a member of the state’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, will focus on the dangers of the internet and the methods adults use to prey on youths, Wright said. Bridge plans to talk about steps parents can take to reduce risks for their children, such as knowing log-in information for social media accounts and having conversations within their families about what actions online are appropriate.
Winterton will provide information about the physical appearance of illicit drugs, slang terms for drugs and the warning signs for substance abuse.
Wright said it be the third time the Sheriff’s Office will lead an event like the one scheduled for May 14. The first one was last year, in partnership with the North Summit School District. South Summit School District followed. Park City School District is the last of the three districts in Summit County to hold the event.
He said he hopes it becomes an annual event so presenters can delve into different topics in the future, such as suicide and bullying prevention.
“By us coming together, teaming together and working together, we can create a huge difference in our community,” he said.
A resource fair will follow the presentations, during which more than 20 organizations plan to set up a table to provide information to parents about steps they can take if they are concerned about the actions of their child, said Alison Vallejo, a counselor for the district. Some of the organizations include Valley Behavioral Health, the People’s Health Clinic, CONNECT Summit County and a “tech table,” which will include Park City youth answering questions about popular apps and technologies.
“It’s not enough to talk about the issues, it’s really important to provide the resources,” she said.
Wright said one of the benefits of partnering for the event is that there is only so much the school district can do or say to get information to parents, and the Sheriff’s Office has an intimidation factor that can be hard to break. By collaborating, he hopes to reach a wide audience while discussing difficult topics.
There will be a Spanish interpreter at the event, Wright said.
By informing multiple agencies, he said, each one can address the problems from different angles so they can all find a solution together.
“We think that it is going to provide a safer environment for our children and the community,” he said.
A Parkite who immigrated to the U.S. when he was 13 is giving scholarships and internships to three first-generation graduates from PCHS.