Summit County Sheriff’s Office presence grows during Sundance
Sheriff will lend extra resources to Park City Police Department
January 20, 2017
As the Sundance Film Festival continues to expand beyond Park City's limit and more film screenings are being held in the Snyderville Basin, the Summit County Sheriff's Office has progressively increased its law enforcement presence to meet the growing needs.
Sheriff Justin Martinez said his office has had to "absorb a lot of what Park City can't handle" during the festival, adding "each year we get busier and busier."
"Park City obviously has a limited amount of space and as Summit County continues to grow, more and more venues are coming out into the county," Martinez said. "We are stretched very thin during the festival, but we always evaluate the manpower and the need. We are not at the critical point yet where we need to bring in other agencies, though, we are getting there."
In addition to the film screenings throughout Park City, the Redstone 8 Cinemas in the Kimball Junction area and Temple Har Shalom along State Road 224 also host several Sundance screenings.
Martinez said he does not plan to deploy extra deputies on patrol for day-to-day operations during the festival. However, he said an increased presence will still likely be visible.
"Patrol staffing levels will not change, but what people may see is more vehicles and more deputies during shift changes because we will have so many on overtime," Martinez said. "During an event like this if we do have a situation arise, at least we have a good amount of manpower that are working."
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In the past, celebrities have contacted local law enforcement agencies in the area to request a private security detail. But, as of Wednesday, no special details have been requested for celebrities or dignitaries, Martinez said.
"No one at Sundance has advised us of really any special needs or any films we might want to be at because of the sensitive nature of it or even an A-list celebrity that says I want special protection," Martinez said.
Law enforcement officials with the Sheriff's Office and the Utah Highway Patrol are expected to help the Park City Police Department during the Women's March on Main, which is scheduled to take place on Saturday in Park City. Demonstration organizers anticipate between 4,000 and 5,000 people will participate.
"I support (Park City Police Chief Wade Carpenter) Wade and we are able to fill in each other's gaps, like at the march," Martinez said. "I think that really benefits the community and Sundance Festival because it is being policed by local law enforcement and that gives it a local touch, as opposed to bringing in outside agencies."
Last year, an unexpected controversy emerged during the festival when two private helicopter companies shuttled festival-goers between Salt Lake City and a landing zone along Old Ranch Road sparking several complaints from nearby residents. The helipad at the Sheriff's Office was eyed as a potential landing site. The Summit County Council later passed an ordinance banning helicopter landings in the Basin.
Martinez said he does not anticipate a similar situation occurring this year. He said his office has not been made aware of any event or request that could become a focal point of the festival.
"It looks like we are expecting this to just be another successful event," Martinez said. "There is a lot of collaboration between (Park City Police Chief Wade Carpenter) Wade and I and there is a lot that happens behind the stage between the two agencies that really make it successful. Ultimately, that's what we want is our guests and residents to have a good time."
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