Pat Reavy, Deseret News
Sheriff's Capt. Carl "Pink" Evans, seen with granddaughter Ashley Brindley, retires after 49 years in law enforcement.

SOUTH SALT LAKE — His wife told him, "You are the last samurai."

On Dec. 31, the last day of existence for the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office before becoming the Unified Police Department, Sheriff's Capt. Carl "Pink" Evans retired, making him the last person to retire from the department.

For the man known by his co-workers simply as "Pink," it only seemed appropriate that he would forever be linked with the sheriff's office.

Evans retired after 49 years of law enforcement service. He started in 1960 as a dispatcher.

Thursday, a retirement party was held at UPD headquarters.

"It's something I didn't expect. I'm totally overwhelmed. I just wanted to walk away," Evans said with a smile.

For nearly a half-century, anyone who worked with the sheriff's office knew Evans. Thursday, sheriff's employees from the past 50 years, many of whom had long ago retired themselves or moved on to other departments, stopped by to give their congratulations.

"I can tell you a story about every one of them," Evans said looking out over the crowd.

Sheriff Jim Winder presented Evans with a shadow box of his badges, department IDs and patches from the past 50 years. A representative from the LDS Church also gave Evans a congratulatory letter and a framed picture of him working security during LDS General Conference. Evans has volunteered to work security for every General Conference since 1976.

Evans got his nickname from his father as a child. His father played professional baseball and told him that every player had a nickname. Because of his fair skin and red hair, he soon earned the nickname Pink, which has stuck with him ever since. For many, it was the only name he was known by.

Evans recalled one time his wife called the department and asked for Carl Evans.

"We don't have a Carl Evans," the receptionist told her.

Since Evans started working a half-century ago, 20-pound walkie-talkies gave way to fax machines, which in turn were replaced with laptop computers and Twitter accounts.

"We came out of the 18th century into the 21st century," he said.

Technological advances in police work have been the biggest differences he's seen from the time he started until now, Evans said.

"I remember when I first started in dispatch and we got a second (police) radio channel. Two radio channels … that was unheard of. Now we have hundreds," he said.

Evans recalled the first time he was given a laptop to put in his patrol car.

"I said, 'I don't even know how to run one of these,' " he said.

Evans said he has seen more advancements in technology the past three or four years alone than in his previous 40 years of service combined.

Advances in forensics have improved the way investigations are conducted. Evans said there is also more educational and professionalism today among officers.

Among his favorite assignments, Evans said he enjoyed his 26 years working traffic enforcement, including 12 years on the motor squad.

When he wasn't being a deputy or working church security, Evans stayed busy with college football. He was a referee in the Big Sky Conference for 32 years and most recently a replay official for the Mountain West Conference. He was inducted into the Big Sky College Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

Now that he's retired, Evans will have time to spend on his houseboat at Lake Powell or with his 15 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

The Evans family boasts four generations of protecting the residents of Salt Lake County.

His son, Jeff, has been a sheriff's deputy and UPD officer for 23 years and his granddaughter a dispatcher for eight years. His father was also with the sheriff's office for 35 years.

"We've got a combined 115 years with the sheriff's office," he said.