Park City backs the blue to show support for police officers | ParkRecord.com

Park City backs the blue to show support for police officers

Law enforcement garners respect, kind words at annual event

Paint the Town Blue organizers on Saturday decorated the outside of The Market at Park City with signs and ribbons in support of law enforcement. It was the third time the annual event has been held in Park City. (Jay Hamburger/Park Record)

MeriAnn Boxall cheerfully spent part of Saturday feeling blue.

Boxall, the wife of Park City Police Department officer Art Boxall, worked with other department spouses to organize the Paint the Town Blue event in support of law enforcement outside The Market at Park City. It was the third time the annual event has been held in the community.

Boxall, other Police Department spouses, officers and civilian members of the department gathered for an event that showed unity within the Park City agency as law enforcement officers of different ranks stood together. Police Chief Wade Carpenter was in attendance as well.

Some wore blue wristbands, others put blue tape on vehicles, and blue and white balloons were part of the decorations. A homemade sign was decorated with a badge-like shape emblazoned with the words "We Support Our Police."

"It's important to continue to show the Police Department we support them no matter the time," she said, adding that criticism of law enforcement in the nation continues. "People are just very vocal right now, negatively to police."

In Park City, though, the residents generally support the Police Department, she said. The officers who work for the Park City agency are "very community driven," she said. They are "super-involved" in local events, Boxall added.

"This is one of the most supportive communities I see in the country," she said.

As the wife of a police officer, though, Boxall understands the dangers of her husband's profession. She said the spouse of an officer never can know what might happen on a shift.
"That's the problem. A routine traffic stop has turned deadly," she said about the uncertainty.

The officers spoke to people as they entered or exited the store, talking to them about law enforcement and explaining the importance of the gathering. Some of the officers grilled hamburgers, cheeseburgers and hot dogs to sell to the The Market at Park City customers. The Park City lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police will put the proceeds from Paint the Town Blue toward the annual Shop With a Cop gift-giving event during the holidays.

Park City Police Department Sgt. Jay Randall, left, and police officer Mikel Archibeque man the grill on Saturday during the Paint the Town Blue event at The Market at Park City. (Jay Hamburger/Park Record)

People who stopped at the event on Saturday were interested in learning about the Police Department and the everyday duties of an officer. They appeared supportive as they engaged the officers in conversation.Soozi Redkey, a Wasatch County resident who works at a store close to The Market at Park City, visited with some of the officers. She said in an interview she offers to pay for lunches when she sees a police officer or firefighter in line.

"They keep us safe. I don't think we as a community say thank you enough," she said, adding, "They put their lives on the line for us. Total strangers."

The Market at Park City donated some of the food and condiments as well as assisting in securing other donations for the event. Rush Hotchkiss, the store manager, said The Market at Park City appreciates the service of the officers.

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"These guys do a lot in the community. It's important to say we care," he said. "Every time we call, they're here right away whenever we need them.

One of the officers at the event, Mikel Archibeque, donned an apron as he manned the grill. Archibeque, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police lodge in Park City, said Paint the Town Blue allows the Police Department to be in the community differently than on a typical day. He said people in Park City back the department and community members thank police officers for their service.

"We feel the support throughout the year. This is a great community when it comes to supporting law enforcement, public safety in general. We've always felt very appreciative of the community members at large," he said.