Men in Badges, Small Town Heroes

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By Traci Bishop

Carbon and Emery counties have been widely known, for some time, as small-town communities that are great places in which to raise families.

This area is the kind of place that people come to as children, or are born in, and stay until their final days. The communities are warm and welcoming where people can feel comfortable. A big part of this is thanks to local law enforcement entities.

When speaking with Price City Police Chief Kevin Drolc, he stated that he believes that most officers and deputies do police work because they feel that it is an honorable profession that helps them in making a difference in their communities. Drolc’s personal opinion is that the vast majority of police officers, not only in our area but the whole country, are good and decent people. Mistakes have been made, but he said most of the time, even in the controversial situations, the officers have justified reasons for what they must do.

Drolc then went on to praise all of the officers and deputies in Carbon County.

“We have a really good group of people who are good to the needs of the community,” he stated. “One of the things I try to enforce here is that when you treat people with respect and dignity, most of the time that is returned.”

When prompted to recall an instance with an officer, or personally, that stands out to Drolc and makes him proud of his profession, he stated that for him it is the little things that go on every day. Insignificant contact that officers make with community members makes the most difference.

Drolc explained that mistakes officers make are the things that are talked about and witnessed in the news, not the great things that go on every day.

Captain Bill Barnes with the Price City Police Department also praised the police force, stating that he believes that they are a great team. Barnes notes that the officers truly feel as if they are accomplishing goals with some of the people that they deal with on the criminal end, providing them with an opportunity to right the ships of their lives. “We feel positive about the interventions that we have, despite it being adversarial,” Barnes stated.

Carbon County Sheriff Jeff Wood is always noticed around town, supporting events and interacting with the community. The reason behind this is that Wood is proud of his county. When asked what makes his job so enjoyable for him, the first thing he stated was that the community we live in is such an awesome, supportive place.

Wood also gave personal praise to multiple officers. Tory Christiansen, Shawn Addley and Helper City officer Donna Archuleta all responded to a medical call where a gentleman was having a heart attack. The officers worked together to assist  the man and ultimately saved his life. Wood also praised Sergeant Dave Brewer who has been working diligently on a cold case for the past seven years and is getting close to solving the case.

Wood believes the success of the communities is due ultimately to the combined efforts of all the forces in our area. He explained that they form a tightknit group, almost like a brotherhood. “It doesn’t matter what color of uniform you wear in Carbon County, our officers work so well together. It’s nice to be a part of that,” Wood said.

Emery County Sheriff Sheriff Greg Funk also spoke highly of his officers, stating that he does not believe that the community fully grasps all of the hats that an officer wears in a rural police force. The officers often respond to scenes, intervening when necessary, doing all that needs to be done for the citizens. “They have my utmost respect and I truly care for each and every one of the officers,” Funk said. “They would literally take a bullet for the community.”

In this day and age, it seems a tough thing to want to be an officer, which Funk shed some light on. Funk has even had a hard time encouraging his own sons to be officers due to the national scrutiny the police have been facing lately. Funk worries about his sons being the ones that have to go and put society back together when people are so full of hate and lash out at officers. Funk wanted to give a big hand to his officers and let them know how much he appreciates each and every officer willing to step up and do the job.

Carbon County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Brandon Wilson felt the need to voice his opinion regarding recent events and let people know how proud he is of his profession. “No matter how crazy the world gets, I will still put on my badge and go and help those who are in need of me,” he stated. “I will go out every night and put my life on the line along with my fellow coworkers for your families, not knowing if we will make it back to ours.”

Dusty Butler, a sergeant in the Emery County Sheriff’s Office, also felt the pressing need to remind the community that there are still great officers out there that take pride in their work. “I have to look around and remind myself how grateful I am to be in law enforcement in Utah and especially in Emery County,” he stated. “I just want to let everybody know that the small acts of kindness toward law enforcement are definitely not unseen and they are very appreciated.”

Chief Drolc and Sheriff Wood also wanted to personally thank the community for being so helpful and supportive. Drolc spoke of at least three instances since the Dallas tragedy when community members have approached law enforcement officers  wanting to buy them pizza or bring them popsicles to show their support. Drolc stated they really appreciate those unnecessary acts of kindness. Wood stated that we have such a generous community that supports law enforcement with very little negativity.

“We have to work together; we have to live in the community and it is our community,” Drolc concluded. “We want it to be a safe place, a place where people can trust us and we’ve got a good relationship that way.”

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