After 27 Years in Law Enforcement, Park City Police Captain Andrew Leatham to Retire
Park City Police Captain Andrew Leatham will retire later this month after over 27 years in law enforcement. KPCW’s Sean Higgins has more on Leatham’s career that started in Park City, took him abroad, and ended right back where it all began.
A Park City native, Captain Andrew Leatham was no stranger to cops as a kid. His dad was one of three full-time Park City police officers in the 1970s. He says from the beginning, he pretty much knew what he wanted his career to be.
“You know, when you’re father is in a uniform and comes in and you’re four years old, it kind of makes a lasting impression, which it did on me,” Leatham says. “I think for me, at that young age, it was one of those things where your career path is predetermined because of that, because of the impact it had on me.”
Leatham’s brother also works for the FBI and his cousin was a state trooper.
He says he briefly studied journalism in college before rediscovering his passion for law enforcement after a student assignment to cover the police department. He later graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in sociology and criminology in 1994.
He then joined the Park City Police Department, first as a reserve officer, then full time a little bit later.
Leatham’s life ambition at that time was to become a federal agent. Thanks to a visit to Park City from an officer from the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, he filled out an application and soon found himself in training in Washington DC.
In total, Leatham spent five years at the agency, traveling around the world keeping American diplomats safe, including a two-year stationing at the American embassy in Amman, Jordan pre-September 11th.
When the 2002 Winter Olympics came to Utah, Leatham was sent home to help with the State Department’s plan to protect dignitaries during the Games. He says the taste of home was enough to convince him to seek a job with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office later in 2002.
“I think once we came home again and were back in the mountains and back in Park City, we really didn’t want to leave,” says Leatham. “The State Department job is glamorous, it’s lots of travel, it’s all those things, but one thing it is is very hard on a family, and so we kind of made the decision to have a better family quality of life and came back here and ended up staying.”
He says the number one thing he learned during his time abroad with the federal government was putting into perspective the problems of a mountain town. He says he never discounted those problems, but his experiences in dangerous situations in foreign countries allowed him to stay calm in high-pressure situations at home.
He adds respect for other cultures and ways of life were also important lessons to learn for someone who grew up in Park City.
After 11 years with the Sheriff’s Office, he then rejoined the Park City Police Department in 2013. He says the change was an easy one to make.
“I think my heart was always at Park City,” he says. “Well, I know my heart was always at Park City based on that’s where I came from and that’s where I got my impressions that this is what I wanted to do, so in 2013, Chief Carpenter decided to look outside for supervisors in the Park City Police Department and I jumped on that opportunity and I feel like that’s probably one of the best things that I’ve ever done. I’ve had an amazing eight years or so at Park City PD.”
Leatham says he does not have any immediate post-retirement plans, apart from helping his son transition to post-high school life after graduating this summer. He did say if the opportunity arose to work for Park City in a non law-enforcement capacity in the future, he would be happy to come back.
Captain Leatham’s last day at the police department is scheduled to be Valentine’s Day, February 14th.
The Park City Police Department also announced the promotions of Rob McKinney to Lieutenant and Danielle Snelson to Sergeant.