Sundance 2021 policing: no movie stars needing help, no demonstrators and few traffic issues
Agency logs show officers responded to typical ski season cases during festival’s opening days
The Park City Police Department during the opening days of the Sundance Film Festival did not need to help a movie star navigate through a giant crowd of fans on Main Street.
It was also not necessary for the agency to monitor demonstrators pushing any number of causes with the spotlight of Sundance on Park City.
And the traffic backups and parking issues were minimal.
The first four days of Sundance — from Thursday until Sunday — are normally the most crowded of the festival in Park City, and those days are usually the busiest of the year for the Police Department. Officers during a typical Sundance respond to calls related to the crowds at all hours, creating an especially interesting week for the agency.
Sundance organizers in 2021, though, shifted the festival online amid the continued spread of the novel coronavirus. Police Department records between Thursday and Sunday show officers responded to cases more typical of a weekend during the ski season than those of a regular Sundance.
“It’s obviously a night-and-day difference,” said Phil Kirk, a police captain who has worked in the field for years during Sundance. “That’s what we were kind of expecting.”
He said there were “minimal issues” during the first days of the festival. Kirk said the Police Department increased the number of officers on duty and the agency was prepared for crowds larger than those that appeared on those days.
The visitors in the city were generally skiers and snowboarders, he said. Kirk said some of the officers were stationed at key intersections to ensure traffic flowed without major problems while others assisted with pedestrian flow on Main Street. There were weather-related traffic issues, he said.
Public police logs also show several parties, traffic stops and parking issues on Main Street and elsewhere. The cases are similar to those reported in any other week during the winter.
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Park City residents will have two more opportunities to take advantage of free rapid testing for COVID-19 early next week.