A Lifetime of Service
Photography: Mark Nelson
“I love this community,” Lloyd Evans says during a tour of the new Park City Police Building. He’s quick with a smile and a joke, and full of facts about the “green” building techniques that went into the new facility that was designed and built under his watch as Chief of Police.
Opened in December 2007, the building puts the growing 42-person department under one roof in a building designed for public safety work. Until now, police had to haul crime suspects into City Hall’s Marsac Building for questioning. Once, a drunk in handcuffs broke loose and had to be wrestled to the ground kicking and screaming at the feet of the City Hall receptionist. “The next day, she quit,” Evans remembers with a chuckle.
Evans points out the energy-saving technology packed into the 12,000-square-foot facility. The orientation is south, in order to pick up solar energy. Dozens of 250-foot-deep holes outside pump the warmth of the ground up to help heat the building all winter. In summer, the same system will cool the place.
Contractors were required to use paints, glues and sealants with low volatile organic compounds, and construction materials were gathered nearby. Local mills using nearby timber cut the lumber, and the stone trim came from Brown’s Canyon. And you can count the chief himself as a local product, too — he’s one of the few persons his age who can say he was born and raised in Park City.
“[My job] has been the dream job. I wanted to work as a cop in the town I grew up in. Becoming chief, building this building — I don’t know what more there can be than this,” Evans says without a trace of braggadocio.
Now Lloyd Evans is stepping down, retiring this summer after 30 years of service to our town. He began in April of 1978 as a patrol officer in a department numbering fewer than ten. He advanced from breaking up bar fights on rowdy Saturday nights to investigating crimes as a detective. He was always “at the right place at the right time,” he says, and over the years moved from patrolman to detective to lieutenant to assistant chief to chief.
Evans is a local’s local. His great great grandparents George and Rhoda Snyder started Park City and gave it its name. The Snyders set up a log boarding house near what’s now the Town Lift and started renting rooms and cooking meals for the first miners. Legend has it that Rhoda herself named the town “Park City” because of its park-like setting. Their daughter Lily married Ed Evans, beginning the Evans line of Park City pioneers.
A century ago, Ed Evans was mayor. Ed Junior, Lloyd’s grandfather, was Justice of the Peace in the 1940s, and Lloyd’s dad, Cliff, was a miner. “We played in the vacant houses — nearly every other house here was vacant in the 1950s and early ’60s,” Evans recalls. “My earliest recollections of Park City were all the boarded up buildings. But,” he remembers fondly, “we didn’t realize we didn’t have a whole lot. We just knew it was a great little town.”
It was, however, a town with few job prospects. Evans worked in the mine warehouse for a time, and during a miner’s strike had to go underground to maintain equipment. Time there inspired him to look for other work. “It was small, dark and cold underground,” he recalls. He applied for police work, instead.
It took a few years of odd jobs in Salt Lake City before the tiny Park City Police Department had an opening, but Evans signed on when the call came. Evans investigated thousands of mostly petty crimes, three murders (two of them the result of domestic violence), and an occasional armed robbery.
“In Park City, because we’re a resort town, we’ve had a fair number of unattended deaths,” Evans observes. Through those investigations, Evans attended more than 100 autopsies at the Medical Examiner’s lab. “It was an incredible education. I learned a tremendous amount about causation that I wouldn’t have learned any other way.”
But police work carries an emotional toll. As he raised four children and then started having grandchildren, he’d see their faces in the faces of children caught in domestic abuse. And there were the infant deaths from SIDS whose autopsies he had to watch. “I said then, ‘I can’t do this anymore’,” and luckily for Evans, that’s when the assistant chief’s job was offered.
In the final years of his police career, Evans was front and center planning parts of the biggest event in Utah history. “The single greatest experience of my life was being involved in the 2002 Olympics,” Evans recalls fondly. “For a local officer to have lunch with the head of the FBI, the Secret Service, and the Attorney General of the United States was an incredible experience.”
During the Games, when sometimes three events were held simultaneously in or near town, the most publicized law enforcement moment occurred when lower Main Street was cordoned off while a robot retrieved a box someone thought was suspiciously thrown into a trash can. Video of the crisis made newscasts worldwide as the robot gingerly loaded the suspicious box onto a bomb disposal rig, which hauled it out of town. “Turns out we blew up what was left of somebody’s ham sandwich,” Evans laughs.
This summer, Lloyd Evans packs up a few boxes of memories and vacates the chief’s office in the new police building, capping a stellar 30-year career in his hometown. He’ll have more time now for his nine grandchildren, and to do more “adventurous stuff.” But at 55, Evans can’t imagine too much retirement. “At some point, I’ll look for another job — perhaps managing special events somewhere.”
With years of Sundance Festivals, Art Festivals, busy ski seasons and an Olympics behind him, no one could be better suited.
Larry Warren is a Park City-based freelance writer and television producer. In his 30 years in Park City, his only encounters with Chief Evans and his officers have been friendly ones.