FBI, National Weather Service provided Sundance support despite shutdown
There were a few federal employees who were part of the Sundance Film Festival cast even before the government shutdown ended on Friday.
City Hall typically partners with federal agencies and departments as part of the overall Sundance efforts, and that is the case in 2019 as well. Federal employees critical to Sundance continued to work while the government was not operating, Mike McComb, the emergency manager for Park City said on Thursday, the opening day of Sundance.
He said the federal employees involved in Sundance are deemed “emergency essential,” meaning they were working even as others were not as a result of the shutdown. He said the employees with roles protecting public safety “continue to function.”
McComb said the Department of Homeland Security, the National Weather Service and the FBI are working with City Hall during Sundance. The film festival, widely considered to be the top marketplace of independent films in the U.S., drew nearly 125,000 people in 2018. The security planning has long been a priority for City Hall and festival organizers.
McComb said an unspecified but small number of federal workers are assigned to the film festival.
“They’re more than willing to provide the support necessary for us,” he said.
The federal workers complement the City Hall staffing. The Park City Police Department officers work extensive hours even as the agency drafts reinforcements for Sundance. The festival is usually the busiest stretch of the year for local law enforcement. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security are involved based on the prominence of Sundance and the crowds it attracts. The National Weather Service, meanwhile, provides forecasts that are critical to snow-removal and transit operations.
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The Park City Police Department last week and early this week stopped drivers at well above the posted speed limit, was told of an erratic vehicle and received a separate complaint about a driver who may have been traveling at upward of 100 mph.