Retiring top cop saluted
Lloyd Evans, the lifelong Parkite who rose to become the chief of police in his hometown, retires on Monday, ending what was an unmatched career with the local force.
On Wednesday, as a crowd celebrated his career during a reception at the police station, Evans said his retirement is "numbing, I guess."
"Though I’m excited, I’m saying to myself I can’t believe it’s here and what am I going to do now," he said in an interview during the Wednesday celebration in his honor.
Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council on Thursday also honored him in what appeared to be the final in a string of well attended farewells for the chief.
Evans, who is 55 years old, started with the force in 1978, a time when Park City’s future seemed uncertain. The historic silver mining era was creeping to its end and Park City had not yet emerged as a top-flight mountain resort.
Evans rose through the ranks, becoming police chief in mid-1997 and serving as the city’s top law-enforcement officer during the 2002 Winter Olympics and overseeing a major expansion of the Police Department.
The Wednesday reception drew police officers, City Hall staffers, other lawmen and regular Parkites. Retirement gifts included a portrait, a ring and a pin.
Evans is the "epitome of a community cop," Mayor Dana Williams said, touting the chief’s efforts to work with Latinos and other groups.
In an interview during the event, Evans said he is proud of what he sees as a bond between the Police Department and regular Parkites. He said police officers and others in the department "have the best interest of the community in mind" and his policing style of a "softer, more friendly approach" worked well.
He admitted he would have liked to have further advanced the Police Department’s plans for crises, such as a hostage taking. But Evans said he is satisfied with the accomplishments of his administration.
"I don’t think I’ve left anything undone as far as what I wanted to accomplish as chief," Evans said.
Evans will remain with City Hall for six months under a consulting contract. He will assist as Park City drafts plans to handle emergencies, seek grants and help the Police Department complete the police station.
Wade Carpenter, who will succeed Evans, attended, but he kept a low profile on Wednesday.
A cop’s cop
Darwin Little, a sergeant, has worked for the Police Department for 10 years, starting soon after Evans became the chief.
He remembers Evans giving him a job, and Little praises him for his management style. He does not interfere with the officers as they go about their police work, Little said.
"He’s more of a hands-off" police chief, Little said. "He let’s us go out and do our jobs."
Many Parkites know Evans, and Little said several people in trouble have mentioned the police chief’s name as someone they know. Evans, though, did not intervene in those situations, the sergeant said.
"We don’t have to worry about what he’s thinking," Little said.
Eleven years ago, with the 2002 Winter Olympics looming, Park City leaders rearranged City Hall.
Frank Bell, the police chief at the time, was reassigned to lead the local Olympic planning. Evans was promoted to police chief, and he was sworn in midyear.
Hugh Daniels, a member of the City Council at the time and now City Hall’s emergency program manager, said on Wednesday Evans was the clear choice to become chief.
"It was very easy. All the Council and mayor wanted him," Daniels said, adding the promotion was "the obvious choice" and Evans’ Park City upbringing was a factor.
Evans pressed the City Councilors for funding for more officers and the rate of major crimes remained low, Daniels said. Meanwhile, Evans’ demeanor fits Park City, he said.
"His humor goes a long way and he understood a resort community," Daniels said.
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