Resort housing crisis prevents police from detaining cops


The housing shortage in the state of Beehive and soaring house prices are not news in resort towns like Moab and Park City. One of the devastating downstream effects of the housing crisis, a Growing pains in Utah investigation found, is the detention of the police officer.

Unlike police departments in large cities, tourist towns can afford to pay officers well. The average salary at the Park City Police Department, 2News learned, was just below the six-figure mark. Even with relatively high police salaries and monthly housing subsidies, resort town officers are forced to commute – or else find work in another field.

A new police arrive, then find something more profitable

“Personnel are probably our number one concern,” said Acting City of Moab Police Chief Braydon Palmer.

His department, he added, has recurring revenue.

“[Officers] come down, he said. They move into rental accommodation. We give them basic training. We raise them and ready to go.

Then, Palmer said, the reality of high housing prices sets in.

He claimed the officers said they did not want to continue paying $ 2,000 a month in rent and then find employment elsewhere.

The Utah Growing Pains team has learned that Moab Police Department employees earned an average of $ 56,837 in the last fiscal year. The current price of the media listing house is $ 469,000.

High number of tourists, same number of cops

Moab’s population grows from 5,000 year-round residents to 200,000 visitors during peak tourism periods.

“We tend to be a lot smaller than what we maybe should be during high season,” said Palmer.

Despite the influx of tourists to the city, the strength of the Moab City Police Department remains the same year-round: 15 officers and six civilian employees.

Former chief of Moab: resort towns need reserve officers – and housing

“Tourism communities, especially in the West, have seen a real boom in terms of tours,” said Jim Winder, former Moab Police Chief and former Salt Lake County Sheriff.

I think what is needed in Moab is a discussion of how to bring in agents from the Wasatch Front or other surrounding agencies … to find them housing opportunities and work mostly part-time.

Winder said that while he was the Town of Moab Police Chief, the town was more than happy to fund whatever he needed.

That’s because Moab, like most resort towns in Utah, receives millions of dollars in tourism taxes.

The Utah Tourism Board estimates that tourism brought in over $ 1 billion in tax revenue last year, giving resort towns tens of millions to use for emergency services and forces. of the order.

Long dependent on reserves, Park City pays cops well, but not enough to live in the city

Compared to other Utah police departments, Park City officers are well paid.

The Utah Growing Pains team learned that PCPD police made an average of $ 98,418 last year.

The median house price in Park City is $ 1.5 million.

“Financially, it is quite difficult for public servants, especially officers, to work at a beach resort because it is so expensive, the cost of living,” said Captain Phil Kirk of the Park City Police Department. .

Kirk said many Park City officers live in other parts of Summit County, near Heber and in the Salt Lake Valley.

The city provides a grant of $ 250 per month to officers who choose to live within the boundaries of the Park City school district.

“It’s essential for us to have a part-time or standby team that comes to help us during peak hours when we have special events,” Kirk said.

Park City currently has 32 full-time, year-round agents and 15 part-time reserve agents.

They hire up to 100 officers from other departments for special events.

“Otherwise, it would be economically impossible for us to pay full-time staff,” said Kirk.

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