Local first responders honored
August 17, 2010
The Park City Police Department that Mary Ford arrived to in 1983, her rookie year with the local force, did not really resemble the modern-day Police Department where she still works.
The police nowadays are headquartered in a purpose-built station, they drive better vehicles and they are armed with more powerful weapons. But in Ford’s 27 years with the Police Department, her superiors — three police chiefs — each allowed her to pursue her interests in law enforcement, particularly working with domestic violence victims and children who are affected, she said.
On Saturday, Ford was one of the emergency services personnel honored by the Park City Lodge of the Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks as part of the organization’s annual recognition of the First Responders of the Year at Rotary Park on the edge of Thaynes Canyon.
"It’s been a perfect fit for me," Ford, a detective, said about the job with the Police Department.
She said the chiefs of police she has worked with — Frank Bell followed by Lloyd Evans and Wade Carpenter — have encouraged her as she worked on domestic violence cases.
In introducing Ford to the crowd gathered on Saturday, Rick Ryan, the Police Department captain who oversees the detectives, noted Ford’s commitment to groups like the local Children’s Justice Center and the Peace House, which provides shelter to victims of domestic violence. Ryan, meanwhile, said Ford has been "instrumental" in solving major cases through her career.
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"Mary Ford is the best investigator I’ve ever seen . . . There isn’t anything I wouldn’t have her handle," Ryan said in an interview after his comments to the audience.
David Brickey, the Summit County attorney and the county’s lead prosecutor, praised Ford’s detective skills as well, saying she brings a "huge amount of humility" to her police work.
"She literally soaks up what she needs to . . . without being cocky or arrogant about it," Brickey said.
He said Ford performs well on the witness stand, saying she is able to convince a jury to side with the prosecutor because she is "credible" and "genuine." Brickey mentioned Ford’s role as an investigator in the 2003 killing of Michael Hirschey and the subsequent trials of Erik Low in the fatal shooting. She was "invaluable to the county attorney’s office" in the case, he said.
The 27 years Ford has spent with the Police Department is a longer tenure than the combined years the rest of Saturday’s honorees have logged with their respective agencies.
The Elks Lodge also honored Christina Sally, a Summit County Sheriff’s Office detective who works closely with the county attorney as she focuses on child-abuse cases. She has spent approximately five years with the Sheriff’s Office after spending most of her career in law enforcement in the Bay Area.
"It’s challenging in the sense that the cases I work are really sensitive in nature," Sally said in an interview.
Others honored on Saturday were:
Craig Cooper, an organizer of the event for the local Elks Lodge, said the jobs the honorees hold are demanding and become more difficult each year.
"We want to honor them for often putting themselves in harm’s way to make our community a safer place," Cooper said.