Vail cops patrol Park City during Sundance |

Vail cops patrol Park City during Sundance

A Vail, Colo., police vehicle was seen in Park City during the Sundance Film Festival. The Police Department in Vail sent officers to Park City to reinforce the local law enforcement agencies working the festival. Park City intends to send officers to Vail later in the winter to help protect a major snowboarding competition. Jay Hamburger/Park Record

Police officers from Vail, Colo., joined the cast of the Sundance Film Festival.

The mountain resort community along the Interstate 70 corridor sent officers to Park City to reinforce the local law enforcement agencies during what is typically the busiest stretch of the year for the police.

The presence of the Vail officers is particularly notable with Vail Resorts being the owner of Park City Mountain Resort. Vail Resorts, which owns and operates mountain resorts and related interests, is based in the Denver-area city of Broomfield. The firm’s flagship resort is in Vail. The company has invested heavily in Park City, making it the largest mountain resort in the U.S. by linking what had been the two separate properties of PCMR and Canyons Resort.

Wade Carpenter, the Park City police chief, said he spoke to the Police Department in Vail starting in October about the possibility of reinforcements from that agency for Sundance. Carpenter said Vail sent three officers to Park City during the first part of Sundance, which is typically the busiest part of the event, and three different officers starting on Wednesday.

Carpenter said Utah law provides an officer from outside the state with police powers if they are assisting a Utah agency.

"They have full police powers while they’re here," Carpenter said, adding that the officers from Vail are also wearing police uniforms.

A sport utility vehicle with Vail Police Department markings has been seen along Main Street during Sundance.

Carpenter said the Police Department secured donated lodging for the officers from Vail and the Colorado agency continues to pay their wages. He said there is virtually no financial cost to the Police Department in Park City.

Carpenter noted the presence of Vail Resorts in Park City as he described some of the benefits of the officers assisting during Sundance. He said many skiers travel to Park City and Vail on vacations once they purchase an Epic Pass, a popular Vail Resorts product that allows people to ski at company-owned properties on the single pass for the season.

"We’re policing a lot of the same people," Carpenter said about the two agencies.

Carpenter said consistency between the agencies is important and it is useful to understand the policing philosophy in Vail. He said the Police Department does not intend to alter its own philosophy, though.

"I’m talking about understanding how major events are policed," Carpenter said.

He said Vail Resorts did not have a role in the discussions between the two law enforcement agencies that led to the agreement to send Vail officers to Park City.

The Police Department during Sundance is typically busy at all times with large crowds of independent-film fans jamming into Park City. There have been numerous parking and traffic issues during Sundance, and the police have also been busy patrolling the crowds.

Carpenter said there are six law-enforcement or emergency services agencies working in Park City during Sundance, a deployment that includes more than 100 police officers. More than 322 shifts were expected to be filled during the festival, he said.

The Police Department in Park City plans to send between three and six officers to Vail in March to assist law enforcement there during a major snowboarding competition.

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