SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – Considering a trip back in the past? Be careful with your language or you might get arrested.
Archivists from the Utah Division of Archives and Records Service processed records from Spanish Fork City, including the 1806 – 1906 Police Arrest Log, and found arrest records such as “drunk, gambling, fighting, disturbing the peace, and petite larceny,” and of course, swearing.
“It’s a very interesting record, showing local history. [But it’s] not super unique in our collection because we have a lot of records like this,” Jim Kichas, Assistant Director of the Division of Archives and Records Service, said.
The record was part of a series of documenting arrests by the Spanish Fork Police. Despite it not being unique, it’s information like this that gives the viewer a chance to look back and understand what life really was like back during that time, said Kichas.
Kichas said there is a lot of untapped potential in the local records and in government records.
Mahala Ruddell, the archivist who processed the collection, agreed.
“I think records like these are important tools with which to understand Utah’s history in a more nuanced way that we might otherwise have been taught to. We might be used to looking at the past through rose-colored glasses, but things like this police arrest book show us that life was complex, interesting, and often rowdy,” Ruddell said.
Tara Silver with the Spanish Fork Police, who was responsible for finding the records, loved how these records helped connect a person to the past.
“There’s nothing like finding an old record and learning information that you had no idea about, especially about people, and their relationships,” Silver said. “It is fascinating to see what was prevalent during that era and to compare the similarities and differences to the times we are living in now.”