PARK CITY, Utah. — Having been established in 1884, the Park City Police Department (PCPD) has been serving and protecting the community and its citizens for over 135 years. Just as it did back in the day, the badge the officers wear still stands for the same principles today as it did all those years ago. Despite a shift in culture, size, and recent national events, Park City’s officer Clayton Eves has made it an emphasis to ensure the freedoms of the citizens he serves, rather than reduce them.
Born and raised in the Salt Lake Valley, officer Eves was introduced to law enforcement from a young age as several of his uncles and grandfather were either officers or served in the military. While he didn’t initially plan on joining the force, and he even took a break doing construction for some time, Eves has now served in law enforcement for over 18 years and has just reached his one year mark in Park City.
“I came over to Park City a year ago and I’ve been loving it over here ever since. A lot of it was just getting out of the valley. Just the busier life. It’s not like we’re less busy, per se, but more so just population wise, wanting to get smaller areas,” Eves said.
Even though he has only worked for the PCPD for just over a year, he has since loved his time with the unit. Not only does he appreciate the small town feel of the city, but compared to some of the departments he worked for previously, PCPD has a family-like atmosphere that strives to improve their community.
“I really love the camaraderie and the atmosphere that Park City as a whole, as well as the police department, meshes so well together. Having been in other departments where divisions fight against divisions, and they’re fighting budgets for budgets, up here in Park City, we help each other out. I mean, it’s real refreshing to be up here and to have the support city-wide, as well as from the citizens,” Eves explained.
“Up here in Park City, and I’ll include Summit County as well, it’s let’s work together and make this thing the best we can instead of, ‘Nah, you’re not 100% fit here, or vice versa.’ It’s the support. Like I said, it’s within the community, within the administration, it’s like a family trying to just make everyone the best that they can be,” he added.
Now, as Eves and the rest of the department strive to make the community a better and safer place, that also includes patrolling the streets and ensuring the safety of Park City’s drivers. While being pulled over is not a fun encounter for either side, Eves stated that traffic stops are always performed in the interest of safety, and that while he can’t guarantee you won’t get a ticket, he’ll do his best to try and understand the situation and look for possible exceptions.
“Having been pulled over myself, I try to treat them the way I would like to be treated. Not just instantly, ‘I pulled you over for this,’ and very hard nosed about it. It’s, ‘Hey, what’s going on today? Here’s why I pulled you over. Is there a reason this is happening?’ I don’t wanna say there’s exceptions to every rule. But maybe there’s a medical event and they’re hustling somewhere if it’s speed related, or I missed a safety issue. So I always give that option to what’s the exception to why they’re there doing that,” Eves explained.
Overall, Eves hopes that no matter the occasion, that individuals throughout Park City feel protected and safe when they come into contact with an officer. Even though it’s likely that the officers will encounter a lot of people on their worst day, he hopes that it comes with a sense of relief and understanding that they are there to ensure their freedoms, not reduce them.
“We’re not there to reduce their freedoms, we’re there to ensure their freedoms and that they get to continue to go about their life, knowing that I’m there to protect them. So I hope they see us as a friend in the community, and not just big brother watching. That they get that feeling of comfort when things do go south. That our presence has a little bit of a relief where they don’t have to look over their shoulder.”