Sundance: See something, say something, Park City police urge
January 10, 2018
The Park City Police Department wants people who see something to say something during the upcoming Sundance Film Festival.
And officers are not talking about a movie star on Main Street or a world premiere at the Eccles Center.
The Police Department for the first time has organized training sessions for the public meant to outline that people should be aware of the possibility of terrorism or other public safety dangers during the festival, which opens on Jan. 18 and extends until Jan. 28. The training is designed to reduce "the likelihood of terrorist attacks" and protect civil liberties, according to a Police Department-drafted message announcing the sessions.
Rob McKinney, a Police Department sergeant who organized the training sessions, said the agency has not been provided information that there is a credible threat against the festival. Instead, he said, the training is meant to provide a basic understanding of the actions someone may take if a public safety situation arises.
An intelligence analyst who specializes in counterterrorism with the Utah Department of Public Safety is scheduled to present. The Police Department, though, will not address the sessions.
McKinney said people at Sundance should be aware of unattended bags and people seen taking photos of infrastructure in Park City. Citizen observations are important to law enforcement, he said.
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"We can't be everywhere," he said, adding, "We're looking to keep everyone safe the best we can."
McKinney said anytime there is a mass gathering like the film festival there is a "potential for bad things to happen." He said someone should call the local law enforcement dispatch number, 615-5500, to report suspicious activity.
Dispatchers who answer the 615-5500 line serve the Police Department and the Summit County Sheriff's Office. He said the 911 emergency line should be used if necessary.
Sundance has long been seen as the top U.S. marketplace of independent films, and it draws large crowds to Park City annually. Numerous celebrities, the entertainment media and corporate interests descend on the community for Sundance, particularly during the jammed opening weekend. They are joined by big crowds of film lovers and stargazers.
The police presence is heavy across the festival as the Police Department is reinforced by other agencies. The Sheriff's Office is also heavily involved in the law enforcement planning with official venues in its jurisdiction as well. Sundance is typically the busiest stretch of the year for the Police Department. Officers regularly patrol Main Street, where crowds gather into the early morning hours, as well as the official Sundance venues and Park City neighborhoods. There has also been a series of high-profile demonstrations during Sundance.
The Police Department usually must deal with crowd control, drunkenness, partying and noise disturbances in addition to traffic and parking issues related to festival crowds. In 2017, during the opening weekend of Sundance, meanwhile, the Police Department and other agencies responded to a cyberattack that targeted the festival's box office.
The sessions are scheduled on Thursday at the Park Avenue police station. One begins at 5 p.m. and the other at 6 p.m. The same information will be presented at both sessions. For more information, contact McKinney at 615-5543.