Park City cop works same beat as his father did decades ago | ParkRecord.com

Park City cop works same beat as his father did decades ago

Andrew Leatham honored as the department’s officer of the year

by Jay Hamburger
THE PARK RECORD

From left: Park City Police Chief Wade Carpenter, Sgt. Andrew Leatham and Leathams parents, Dennis and Cally Leatham, watch as other first responders are honored during an Elks Lodge ceremony on Saturday at Rotary Park. The younger Leatham was named the police officer of the year in the Police Department.

Dennis Leatham worked the streets for the Park City Police Department in the early 1970s, a time when the community was beginning to move from a withering mining town to a mountain resort.

More than 40 years later, his son wears a badge for the same agency. Andrew Leatham is a Police Department sergeant. He worked at the Police Department for three years in the mid-1990s, left to work in law enforcement for the State Department and then the Summit County Sheriff's Office before returning to the police in Park City.

The younger Leatham on Saturday was named the Park City police officer of the year by the Park City lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, an annual honor given to a member of the Police Department and members of other area emergency services agencies. The two generations of Leathams were in attendance at Rotary Park as the Park City officer was honored.

"It's amazing. It's nothing but sheer pride," the father said at the event, describing that his son is "walking the same beats" as he did a generation ago and recalling the younger Leatham riding in a patrol vehicle when he was a child.

The younger Leatham acknowledged the family history with the Police Department on Saturday. He remembered visiting the police station while his father was on the force. The station at that time was located in a Main Street building that also housed municipal offices. It is now the Park City Museum.

"It's pretty special. That's why I chose to come back here," he said, explaining there is a "special relationship I've always had with Park City and the Park City Police Department."

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He pursued law enforcement outside of Park City at the Sheriff's Office and State Department with the goal of broadening his experience before returning to the local Police Department. Leatham said he would potentially like to become the chief of police in Park City someday.

"It's an almost metropolitan area now, sophisticated people from all over the world," he said.

In a nominating letter supporting Leatham's naming as the officer of the year, Rob McKinney, a Police Department sergeant, said he is the "epitome of professionalism in law enforcement." Leatham manages the reserves program and serves on a state team that responds to child abductions, according to the letter.

"The value that Sgt. Leatham adds to our department is difficult to measure, but extremely easy to recognize," the letter says.

Others who were honored at the event include:

  • Rob Takeno, the Park City Fire District firefighter of the year. Takeno has been with the Fire District two years and trained in responding to trench collapses, structural collapses and hazardous materials.
  • Jared Vernon, the Summit County Sheriff's Office deputy of the year. Vernon has been with the Sheriff's Office since 2003 and is an assistant team leader for the SWAT team. He is a member of the Summit County Honor Guard.
  • Agustin Torres, the Utah Highway Patrol trooper of the year. Torres has worked for the Utah Highway Patrol for 20 months and became a law enforcement officer partly to "show the Hispanic community that there is always hope to be and to do whatever you want if you work hard and dedicate yourself to your goal," according a brief biography provided as part of his nomination.
  • Margie Offret, the EMT of the year. Offret has worked as an emergency medical technician in Summit County for 31 years, starting in Park City and then moving to Kamas.

    Ross Kirkley, the exalted ruler of the local Elks Lodge, said in an interview his daughter is a police officer in Salt Lake City and emergency responders put "their lives on the line every day for us.

    "Without the police, law enforcement, we would have total chaos in our communities. We need them to protect the public, protect the innocent, protect law-abiding citizens," Kirkley said, adding, "They're protecting lives and saving lives."