Park City police captain who rose through ranks in hometown agency readies to retire
Andrew Leatham says community has high standards for law enforcement
Andrew Leatham arrived at the Park City Police Department in 1993 but did not have to travel far to put on the uniform and the badge, first as a member of the agency’s corps of reservists.
Leatham is a rare example of someone who grew up in Park City before eventually joining the force and then rising through the ranks. Leatham, now a captain, is set to retire from the Police Department on Monday after spending 20-plus years in law enforcement. He, notably, served in several capacities with the Police Department and spent time with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and the State Department as well.
The captain post he now holds, one of two in the Police Department, puts him and the other captain, Phil Kirk, as ranking No. 2 in the agency behind the police chief. Leatham oversees the department’s patrol division and the law enforcement side of special events.
“It’s my hometown,” he said about the experience of policing in Park City, adding, “Pride in your hometown. I just find Park City to be unique to Utah.”
Leatham, who is 49 and lives in Park City Heights, started his law enforcement career at the Police Department in 1993. He moved to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security in the State Department in 1997 for five years before returning to local law enforcement at the Summit County Sheriff’s Office where he spent 11 years ending in 2013. The Police Department rehired him in 2013 and he climbed to the captain’s rank during his second stay with the police. He held the titles of officer, sergeant and lieutenant in the Police Department before his promotion to captain. Leatham followed his father into the Police Department. The elder Leatham was an officer in Park City in the 1970s.
Leatham’s time in the Park City and Summit County law enforcement agencies tracked closely with a 1990s-era population boom in the Park City area. The increasing population coupled with the growth in the tourism industry in Park City had broad impacts on law enforcement as police officers and deputies in the Sheriff’s Office adjusted to the swelling numbers of people.
Leatham said the resort nature of Park City is attractive to him as a police officer. The influx at the busy times of the year brings people of all sorts to Park City, he said as he described one of the draws of policing in the community.
“It doesn’t get stagnant or boring,” he said, indicating police officers should be “good ambassadors” of Park City even as they enforce the laws.
One of the highlights was his assignment to the 2002 Winter Olympics, when he worked for the State Department. He was posted in Park City during the Games and worked alongside Park City officers in the Main Street celebration zone. The Olympic experience helped influence him to return to the Park City-area law enforcement. He once had what he described as a “secondary” goal of becoming the chief of police in Park City, but he has no regrets he did not attain that title.
Leatham described the Police Department as “progressive in our approach to law enforcement.” He said the agency early on embraced the use of body cameras, banned chokeholds and required reviews of instances when officers used force.
“We’re always out on the cutting edge, before something is pushed on us,” he said, adding, “If this isn’t a good tactic, let’s change it.”
Leatham said some in the community see policing Park City as an easy assignment without large numbers of violent crimes. But he said there is a “great deal of pressure to perform all the time.”
“The high standards of what our citizens expect just add to the pressure,” he said. “Not in a bad way.”
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