PARK CITY In 1978, police work was the only full-time job Lloyd Evans could find here in his funky, mountain hometown.
Evans had tried mining, the city's main economic force at the time. He had worked at a ski resort and also spent time at the school district. Mostly, he just wanted to stay near his family roots that go back four generations, he said.
"But once I started working with the community, I realized this is what I wanted to do be a part of the community where I grew up," he said.
Thirty years later, the Park City police chief says he has accomplished many of his life's goals. The 55-year-old is leaving
the force in July after having headed up security in the city for the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympic Games and having overseen construction of a new police station.
He also watched the Sundance Film Festival grow into one of the world's premier art film venues and has coordinated the efforts of hundreds of officers in patrolling the "very busy night life" that accompanies the event.
"What do you do after you've sort of fulfilled your dream?" he said. "(My career) has been very satisfying."
Evans started in the patrol division as the city's eighth officer. He then moved into detective work and crime prevention before being named chief in 1997.
Major crimes such as shoot-outs, homicides and robbery have been rare during Evan's career only two murders in 30 years, in fact. But the chief has his own brand of war stories.
Evans fondly remembers playing Thanksgiving football in a cops vs. hippies game in the early '80s. Now-Mayor Dana Williams was on the opposing team.
"It really helped with relations got frustrations out," the chief said. The annual game was canceled after too many officers were injured, but the chief still has a newspaper clipping about the event hanging in his office.
Another time, during the Olympic Games, Park City officers under Evans' direction used a robot to explode a suspicious package on Main Street. The package turned out to be a turkey sandwich lunch wrapped in black plastic and placed in a trash bin.
"That decision was broadcast across the world," Evans said. "I gained a great appreciation for where the buck stops, for where hard decisions are made."
Despite being the top dog in a trendy resort city, Evans has an easy-going, friendly demeanor. In daily office life, that's evident in everything from the top cop's casual dress usually khaki slacks and a polo shirt or sweater vest to numerous first-name greetings in the hallways of the new station.
"His aura is very relaxed and casual," said Park City Police Capt. Phil Kirk, who heads up the patrol division. "It matches up well with Park City. It took me awhile to adjust, but once you get used to it, it fits. We're going to miss him."
Community policing has been a major focus of Evan's 30-year career. He learned from his predecessor, and hopes to pass on to the next chief the value of community interaction.
Evans hopes the system of listening to citizen complaints will remain strong. He also advocates information disclosure and transparency, saying residents need to believe that the department is service-oriented.
"He's very good about introducing us to the community, showing those connections and friendships," said Kirk, who came to Park City four and a half years ago as a mid-level manager. Kirk had worked for Salt Lake City and the Utah Highway Patrol
"He has tremendous strength with the community. Just about everybody knows him and really loves him," the captain said.
Evans will leave to his successor a new, environment-friendly police station. He has worked on the concept for more than six years.
"Actually, I'm kind of jealous," he said. "It's a double-edged sword. It's a beautiful building, but I'm ready to retire."
Evans will stay on with the city as a consultant through December. He plans to assist in putting the finishing touches on the station and aiding the transition to new leadership, among other things. Wade Carpenter of Ivins will take over as Park City's new chief July 1."It has been a great opportunity," Evans said. "I love this job and I love this community."
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