SALINA, UTAH (News4Utah) The city of Salina is basically right in the middle of Utah. It’s a small town with a population 25-hundred and it has just one traffic light. It would be a quiet town, but Salina gets a lot of outside traffic. I-70, Highway 50 and Highway 89 all pass through it. And on a typical day, just two officers cover all the calls. This week – in our Behind the Badge report – we find out what its like to protect and serve in Salina.
“If I pull someone over – I’m going to go to the store or I’m going to go to the church or the gas station and I am going to see them again. Guarantee I am going to see them again.” That’s Officer Eric MacArt describing what it’s like working in Salina. He says some might think that is a bad thing, but he doesn’t look at it that way. “We have such a good relationship with our community because people know us.” Officer MacArt worked for as a Sevier County Deputy and in corrections before coming back home to Salina two years ago.”I went to school with people I deal with. I mean it’s a whole different dynamic coming to Salina.”
He says with one officer working full-time in the schools – he’s basically the lone ranger when it’s his shift.”Every call is our baby. We don’t have detectives. We don’t have – it’s ours. If we have a rape call it’s ours. If we have a fraud call – someone is writing a fraudulent check – it’s ours.” The 30-year-old officer says that some days it’s a lot to handle. “Sometimes its overwhelming. Sometimes you feel like your drowning. You check on and you’ve got six calls waiting and you are trying to take those and you have new ones coming in.”
Basically, if police are needed and you’re working – that means you. Even if you’re the police chief. “Little town like this we do everything from code enforcement to animal control and all the other things that come our way.” Chief Al Taylor came to Salina six months ago after serving as a Juab County Sheriff’s Deputy and working in Adult Probation and Parole. He says while he deals with things like paperwork and budgets – he is also out on the streets every day. “Its pretty much the same as being a patrol officer here in Salina because we are so few in numbers.”
Both Officer MacArt and Chief Taylor have family in Salina. And they say serving and protecting their families and their friends is an amazing privilege. Officer MacArt says “I get to work with my neighbors and my community. One on one a lot of times. And I see them again and I see the progress they make with I deal with them.” And Chief Taylor simply says “I love the support of our community. Salina is full of hard-working people. Coal miners and truck drivers and farmers and all these businesses that are here. The people of Salina are hard working, friendly people.”
The Officers and Chief of the Salina Police Department also have a great sense of humor. When this happened a few weeks ago – the police posted it on their Facebook page to laugh about it. The culprits were caught – but not punished. Check out the WEB EXTRA below to hear the Chief explain the detective work behind the Toilet Paper Caper. It’s pretty good.
And to nominate an officer for a future story just go to http://www.good4utah.com/badge
Web Extra: Toilet Paper Caper – Click the photo: