The Park City Police Department will host a 9/ 11 memorial event to remind us of those first responders who died 19 years ago on the morning of September 11, 2001. But COVID-19 redefines all gatherings and this year, the remembrance will look different, but the community can still take part, if not from a distance.
Park City Police Operations Captain Andrew Leatham says the incidents which took so many lives on 9/11, must never be forgotten. Of the 2,977 people who died that day, 412 were emergency workers. Last year during the memorial service, a discovery was made.
“We actually found that we have a small group of first responders from New York City who have retired in Park City,” he said. “A lot of them didn't realize that each other were here until they came to this gathering last year. There were two or three, either New York Police or New York Transit Police, and some retired New York firefighters and we had kind of taken a break on having an official ceremony for a while and then we realized that these people were in our community, and how much it meant to them.”
To be safe, they’ll do things differently to commemorate those first responders. Dispatch will observe two minutes of silence at the exact times the planes hit the World Trade Center towers in New York.
“Instead of having a public gathering, we're going to post some large banners on the corner of Snow Creek and Park Ave by the Police Department, just reminding people not to forget 9/11,” Leatham said. “We’re going to place a floral wreath although our flag, which will be at half-staff. We’ll put some little memorial badges, either police or fire badges in the lawn across from the flagpole.”
Sgt. Rob McKinney has been named the Elks Police Officer of the Year. A small, private ceremony to acknowledge his contributions to the community will be held at 10 A.M. on Friday outside the Police Department.
“Sgt. McKinney is just a consummate professional,” Leatham said. “He takes on a lot of responsibility at the Police Department. In late 2019 he was given the assignment to oversee our Traffic Unit. It can be one of the most demanding positions in our operations division and he did an excellent job with that. He's been very responsive to the community and to city officials. We had some auto-pedestrian accidents during Sundance last year, another commercial vehicle accident out of Ontario Canyon just a couple of weeks ago.”
Leatham says they won’t turn people away if they come to show support during McKinney’s ceremony but as always, masks and distancing are a must.
“Well, we’ve had tremendous support from the community throughout the beginning of the pandemic,” Leatham said. “And then some of the demonstrations that have gone on across the country. And we are very lucky to live in this community and serve this community. And this community shows its support to our department constantly. And so, we appreciate that you can't really ask for more. But yeah, driving by the Police Department on that day and maybe giving a honk as they see the banners, would be a good way to do it.”
In a normal year, the Elk’s Lodge hosts a barbecue honoring Summit County and Park City law enforcement, along with a state trooper, an emergency medical responder and a local Park City firefighter.