Park City police, after breach, step up patrols of waterworks facilities |

Park City police, after breach, step up patrols of waterworks facilities

The Masonic water tank overlooking Old Town is part of the municipal waterworks system. It holds 500,000 gallons of water. Officials recently installed a surveillance system at the site as they tighten security around water facilities. Christopher Reeves/Park Record

The Park City Police Department since the middle of October has more closely watched City Hall’s waterworks facilities, a result of the discovery of a breach of the Judge Tunnel.

The police had indicated officers would step up their patrols of the facilities, including using bicycles, and public police logs during the week starting on Oct. 20 showed they did so.

The police logs did not provide details, but officers, apparently as part of their regular patrols, checked on some of the facilities. The logs also indicated an alarm was triggered at a waterworks facility, but an official later said it was a false alarm.

The police log entries — reporting both patrols and calls — included:

  • on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 12:59 a.m., a security company told the police an alarm was triggered at a water tank in Red Cloud. The alarm signaled a hatch had been opened, according to police logs. The tank is located in the vicinity of Guardsman Pass. Kyle MacArthur, the water operations team leader for the Public Works Department, said, though, an electrical glitch triggered the alarm. He said the hatch had not been opened and there was no evidence someone had attempted to open it.
  • on Friday, Oct. 25, at 8:18 a.m., a police officer conducted a patrol along Richardson Flat Road along the S.R. 248 entryway to check on a water treatment plant. The logs indicated the officer did not see anything suspicious.
  • on Oct. 25 at 2:50 a.m., an officer reported conducting a patrol at the Spiro waterworks facility in Thaynes Canyon. The logs indicated the property appeared to be secure.
  • on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 6:30 p.m., someone contacted the police saying that they had heard kids close to a waterworks site off Meadows Drive. The youngsters might have been talking about setting up a skateboard rail using the facility. The Police Department said the circumstances were suspicious.
  • on Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 4:13 p.m., two or three youngsters were reportedly spotted atop a waterworks facility that overlooks the Old Town roundabout.

    On Oct. 22, meanwhile, the police at 5:31 a.m. received a report that a building at silver mining-era site in Empire Canyon had been damaged. A hole was found in plywood covering one of the windows, the police were told. The site is adjacent to a waterworks facility, which was not damaged.

    MacArthur said it is "pretty common" to receive reports like the one at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 23 about the youngsters. In the winter, he said, sometimes snowboarders are spotted at the facility. Reports like the one on Oct. 22 at 4:13 p.m. involving the youngsters atop the facility are also common, he said.

    MacArthur said he met with Police Department officials midweek to discuss security issues and the waterworks system, calling what is in place "robust security." He said the patrols will continue. MacArthur said he provided detailed information to the Police Department about the location of waterworks facilities.

    "I think it will make them think twice before even hanging around these facilities," MacArthur said about the police patrols.

    The efforts followed shortly after the Judge Tunnel breach was discovered. The police received the report of the breach late in the morning on Oct. 15. It was not clear when the breach occurred, though. MacArthur said the following week inspections are conducted every other month and the breach was discovered during an inspection. The Judge Tunnel has not been used as a water source since June based on long-running quality concerns.

    MacArthur said that week a hole was discovered in the roof of the Judge Tunnel and the person or people who breached the tunnel apparently dug one foot into the ground and then cut through two layers of wood panels to gain access. A rope was discovered that was apparently used to descend into the tunnel from the hole in the roof, water officials told the Police Department.

    Phil Kirk, a police captain, said the waterworks facilities will continue to be patrolled regularly. The Police Department is preparing plans to patrol the facilities that are not easily accessible with vehicles.

    Police Chief Wade Carpenter and Kirk met with water managers on Wednesday to discuss the patrols, Kirk said. Waterworks officials will provide the police GPS coordinates of the facilities, he said.

    "We want another level of security by our officers," Kirk said.

    People with information about the breach may contact the Police Department at 615-5500 or the department’s anonymous-tip line, 615-5847. The department also operates an online tip form. The address is: .

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