Park Record Editorial June 11-13, 2008
Community policing may be a relatively new buzzword in law enforcement circles, but it is something retiring Park City Police Chief Lloyd Evans has been practicing for decades.
When Evans joined the police force in 1978 as a beat cop, and a Park City native, he had to lay down the law for people he grew up and attended school with. The town was still trying to get on its feet after the mining industry jumped ship and Main Street was filled with colorful characters and, while some lawmen looked to the gritty Wild West for role models, Evans opted for a gentler approach.
The town was poking around for a new identity and Evans and his fellow officers often found themselves defusing skirmishes between the old guard and a crop of new arrivals, between cowboys and miners and between miners and hippies. Somehow, Evans knew, the city would have to accommodate all of them, so he encouraged tolerance and compromise.
the time Evans took over the reins from outgoing Police Chief Frank Bell, Park City had found its groove and was preparing to host the mother of all special events, the 2002 Winter Olympics. As the city polished its image in anticipation of its international guests, Evans’ department received extra scrutiny. Every confrontation with a visitor had potential diplomatic repercussions and every security breach was suddenly a matter of homeland security.
But preparing for the first post-9/11 Olympics was just one of many challenges Evans tactfully negotiated during his tenure. Among his proudest accomplishments, in our view, is the tone he set while the city struggled to assimilate a growing number of Latino immigrants.
Evans, along with a handful of other leaders in the community, instituted a number of outreach programs and actively engaged Anglos and Latinos in an ongoing dialog. Evans knew that if the police were seen as adversaries and/or immigration enforcers, they would not receive the trust and cooperation they might need in the event of a violent crime.
These days, urban police departments are just beginning to tout the preventative and proactive effects of community policing that Parkites have been enjoying for the last 30 years. Evans officially retires at the end of the month and we hope his successor chooses to stay the course.
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Park City officials are preparing to take what is considered to be an important step in protecting the Treasure land from wildfires. City Hall in early June requested proposals from firms interested in the work.