Park City remembers fallen police officer nearly four decades after Independence Day death
Rodney Schreurs recalled during ceremony in Main Street park named in his honor
The Park City Police Department on Sunday honored a fallen officer who died on Independence Day in 1984, holding an annual ceremony that this year also provided a hint of politics with the appearance of two of the candidates for mayor.
Rodney Schreurs was killed on July 4 while directing traffic at the S.R. 224-Payday Drive intersection after the community fireworks display. A driver hit Schreurs, who was 33 when he was killed. The Police Department remembers him each year on July 4 at a memorial park named in his honor along Main Street.
Police Chief Wade Carpenter on Sunday made brief comments at the ceremony, saying Schreurs will always be remembered. He also said Park City, as a community, appreciates the work of the police.
The organizers decorated the memorial park with an American flag and a collection of photographs and other memorabilia in honor of Schreurs, including a photocopy of a newspaper article reporting the death. Vai Lealaitafea, a police lieutenant, performed the national anthem and a moment of silence was held in remembrance of the late officer.
Several dozen people attended the event, which was held steps from the large July 4 crowds on a pedestrian-only Main Street that day. It did not appear many of the passersby understood the significance of the gathering.
The Police Department itself, though, had a strong showing, with at least 10 members in attendance in uniform and civilian members of the agency also present. Park City Manager Matt Dias attended, as did Park City Councilor Tim Henney. Congressman Blake Moore, whose district includes Park City, was seen in the crowd with members of his family. The congressman was among the elected officials who posed for group photographs with the police officers.
Schreurs is one of only two Park City officers to have died in the line of duty. The other, Albert Holindrake, was killed at 43 in 1908 after his revolver accidentally fired while he was examining the gun.
The Utah Law Enforcement Memorial, an organization that compiles information about police officer deaths, details that the driver who hit Schreurs died by suicide shortly after the accident.
Mayor Andy Beerman and Park City Councilor Nann Worel — two of the three candidates competing in a mayoral primary election that is scheduled in August — appeared at the event at a time when the politicking is expected to increase with the vote approaching. Both opted for broad remarks about policing rather than anything political in nature when they addressed the gathering. Law enforcement issues typically are not crucial to City Hall campaigns and they are not expected to be overriding topics this year even with one of the City Council candidates pressing police reform as a platform plank.
The appearance of Beerman and Worel together outside the setting of a City Council meeting was notable during the campaign season. Beerman and Worel each spoke proudly about the Police Department in Park City.
Beerman described the citizenry as supporting the local agency.
“They are the model of community policing,” the mayor said.
Worel talked of the sacrifice made by Schreurs.
“All gave some. Some gave all,” she said.
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