Community celebrations -high times, higher security
Law enforcement agencies pool resources at big events
While rumors surrounding a possible threat at this past weekend's International Days celebrations were found to be baseless, police agencies from across the county came together in a coordinated effort to ensure the safety of those attending the events.
"Even though we had found that the threat amounted to little more than rumor, we needed to be ready," said Price City Police Capt. Bill Barnes. "It's not that we were expecting trouble but there is just the potential for so much trouble that it helps to make sure everything is taken care of."
According to Barnes, cities within the county work together every year to police the area's seasonal celebrations under a mutual aid agreement. This signed document allows that officers from each sister city in the area will help the host city during large events and celebrations like International Days. The agreement is especially helpful during the traffic and crowd control situations which arise during a parade and when situations like International Days crop up.
At the International Days Celebration, Utah Highway Patrol, Adult Probation and Parole, USU Eastern, Department of Wildlife Resources, Helper City, Wellington City, East Carbon City and County Sheriff's officials came to Price's assistance during the festivities.
Through the weekend, three to four additional officers were added to the usual number which patrol the event. Officers were also much more visible during the parade on Saturday morning at Washington Park through Saturday evening.
According to one of the officers patrolling Saturday, the task of keeping public safety can be made more difficult in rural areas because of the number of individuals who are legally carrying handguns.
The officer estimated that one out of every ten adults at the celebration had a legal carry permit and had their weapon with them.
"As far as the county goes, we did what we do every year," said Carbon Chief Deputy Tom Stefanoff. "We allowed Price City officers to utilize our command post and we provided more patrols but other than that, it was the same cooperative effort we provide every year."
Stefanoff reported that county and city departments have been coming together to police area events and celebrations throughout his entire 21-year law enforcement career.
"That's what it takes," he said. "Price city did a great job coordinating this event and all they needed was the extra man power provided by inter-agency cooperation."
In East Carbon, the city pays an additional three to four off-duty county officers to patrol their Community Daze celebration every year. It is a practice that paid heavy dividends in 2014, according to East Carbon Police Sgt. Phillip Holt.
"This year we made several arrests and had several situations which showed that we really do need the additional officers," said Holt. "During this year's celebration we had fights at the park, assaults at the part, an assault on an officer during an arrest and several other heavy situations."
Holt explained that two officers were booking people into the jail in Price at the same time during the event's dance, a situation that would have left only two officers in town without the extra hired help.
According to Barnes, the extra patrols seen at this years International Days celebration had more to do with potential than any specific threat.
"We believed everything was fine," he said. "But the potential and the sheer numbers make it so you have to be ready for anything. So as a police community we prepared for everything you can prepare for."