In the summer of 1972, I found myself on the end of a shovel at the LA Young Construction hot
plant just west of Green River, Utah. I was hired for a specific purpose. I was cheaper than
fixing a conveyor belt!
The belt that moved the hot mix from the plant needed repair. Some of the mix fell on the
ground, and the company discovered it was less expensive to pay two young men to shovel it
back on the belt that led to a belly dump loading bin. Marion Brown was my boss, and his son,
Brent was my fellow shoveler. When the plant was running, we were shoveling.
A young Bill Crane was the operator of the hot plant. He wasn’t much older than me. When
everything was working well, Bill watched the equipment do its job. He became a good friend
and is an amazing person who recently got a promotion to Heaven. I’m pretty sure it’s a much
better place than a hot plant in the desert near Green River.
When something broke down, Brent and I got a chance to catch up with our shoveling and even
to catch a few minutes rest on occasion. Bill was like a ringmaster with elephants, lions and
tigers running around. He would diagnose the problem and race to fix it. He was smart and
could fix virtually anything.
Keeping the hot mix going was the life blood of a road job. Trucks were coming every few
minutes to take the mix to the new I-70 freeway project. If they couldn’t load, that meant other
crews were idle. It costs a lot of money to have construction crews sitting idle. It was hot and
dirty under the conveyor belt, but it was easy compared to what Bill was doing. He had
responsibility on his shoulders every second. It the plant was broke down or jammed, he fixed it.
If it was running well, he’d was planning how to fix the next inevitable breakdown.
This story illustrates a point I believe is critical in our community. Sometimes we mistakenly
believe that when our police personnel are not at the scene of a crime or accident, they’re just
cruising around without a worry in the world. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
They’re perpetually on call for emergencies; nights, weekends, holidays — every day! They
serve and protect us from others and often, from ourselves. Reports are necessary and endless.
They run toward danger and protect our children and grandchildren. Covid-19 has been a
challenge for all of us but doubly so for law enforcement officers. And instead of being treated
with respect, they’re painted as bad guys in the media more often than not.
Bill Crane was police officer in our city for a time. He was good at it. Like many others, Bill left
to better provide for his family. In his case, it was the construction business. Since then, we’ve
had over thirty officers come and go. Most left for more money and less stress. Training new
officers is expensive and now we have double the calls we had in Bill’s day as an officer. That’s
double the calls, with only two more officers to take those calls.
Our city, our valley and our state are growing. We sit on I-70, which impacts us in both good
and bad ways. Despite new demands in every aspect of their daily duties, our police force is
doing a great job. I believe we need more officers to deal with what is coming at us right now.
These public servants are stretched tight, and I don’t want to lose a single one of them. Having a
strong, effective police force should be a priority for each one of us. It’s a matter of safety and
Mayor David Ogden