Editorial: Small towns face policing challenges too
July 15, 2016
When the national news becomes too brutal to bear, Summit County residents can just turn off the television. Residents in places like Dallas, New York, Chicago and Boston often don't have that luxury. Bad news invades their lives on a regular basis.
But Summit County's small towns and rural byways are not immune to crime, or conflict. When local police officers and deputies respond to a call from dispatch, they could be dealing with a simple citizen assist or a violent crime.
Recent call logs from the Summit County Sheriff's Office offer vivid details of the diverse array of situations they routinely face: "domestic violence," "threatening suicide", "child abuse," "fight in progress," "assault," "injury accident."
In any of those cases involving heightened emotions, responding officers run the risk of becoming the targets of a suspect's pent up anger. While it has been a long time since the county has lost an officer on active duty, we recognize that possibility is ever present.
This week the Park City Chamber/Bureau took a moment to thank Park City Police Chief Wade Carpenter and Summit County Sheriff Justin Martinez – and all of their officers — for their commitment to public safety. We'd like to echo that sentiment.
We also want to encourage Summit County officials and law enforcement personnel to continue promoting community dialog. All citizens — whether they speak English, Spanish or Tagalog, whether they are residents or visitors, teens or senior citizens – should have confidence that they will be treated equally in the eyes of the law. That, in turn, will help quell the violent discord that has put so many other communities in jeopardy.
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Most days, our county feels pretty idyllic –- except for the occasional minor disruptions like a trademark protest or a traffic jam. We are lucky, but we should also be proactive by ensuring that our police officers and sheriff's deputies have the support they need. That could include participating in community policing programs like the sheriff's "Coffee with a Cop," the Park City Police Department's "Citizens Police Academy" or contributing to the Utah 1033 Foundation which supports the families of fallen police officers. Or it could be as simple as telling a local officer you appreciate their service.