Park City police prepare for big march during Sundance
There is expected to be a heavy security presence along Main Street route
January 17, 2017
The Park City Police Department, already busy during what is traditionally the jammed opening weekend of the Sundance Film Festival, is readying plans to ensure a large demonstration scheduled on Saturday unfolds safely.
The Women's March on Main won a City Hall approval at a meeting last week and is slated to be held on Main Street amid the large crowds that are expected to be there already. The Police Department needed to add the demonstration to its broad planning for the festival.
The Women's March on Main organizers anticipate between 4,000 and 5,000 people will participate, numbers that would make the demonstration far larger than any other held in recent years in Park City.
Wade Carpenter, the chief of police, said in an interview the Police Department is crafting security blueprints based on the anticipated numbers of up to 5,000 people. Carpenter, however, said law enforcement is projecting the actual number of marchers will range from 1,500 to 3,000. Carpenter, as a comparison, noted the Howl-O-Ween festivities along Main Street on Halloween draw a crowd ranging from 3,000 to 5,000. That event packs Main Street with parents, trick-or-treaters and their pets, leading to limited elbow space at some points.
"We always over plan," Carpenter said, adding, "We need to take all the necessary precautions we would for a worst-case scenario."
He said organizers of demonstrations tend to anticipate crowds larger than the ones that actually turn out. But, Carpenter said, the Police Department must ensure it has the resources for a larger crowd. The police must "take those numbers seriously," he said.
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"You're going to have a lot of people who are curious and want to check it out," Carpenter said.
The police chief described that there will be a heavy law enforcement presence on Main Street during the demonstration. There will be reinforcements from outside agencies like the Summit County Sheriff's Office and the Utah Highway Patrol. Agencies from the Salt Lake Valley will send canine units to Park City that day, he said. There will also be two mobile command centers in the vicinity of Main Street, Carpenter said. Officers in plainclothes will be assigned to the law enforcement team. Carpenter said the Police Department will station officers in front of the demonstration and behind the marchers.
The police, meanwhile, said it will order a halt of deliveries on Main Street and Swede Alley to ensure the march route is clear. The delivery shutdown will start at 7 a.m. and last until noon.
The march is scheduled from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. Setup is expected to begin at 7 a.m. and the teardown is anticipated by noon. The marchers plan a route starting at the Brew Pub lot toward the southern end of Main Street. They will descend Main Street, turn east on Heber Avenue and end with a rally at the flagpole lot toward the bottom of Swede Alley. The march itself is should last up to 45 minutes.
More than 3,000 people had indicated they planned to attend the Women's March on Main by Tuesday morning. The event is organized in support of a variety of causes. It is not designed as a protest to the inauguration of Donald Trump as president, but it is scheduled the day after he is sworn into office.