Currently, the Canyon Patrol Unit consists of 2 Sergeants and 17 Officers. The officers in this unit provide all aspects of law enforcement services within the canyon areas of Salt Lake County, including Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons, Emigration Canyon, East Canyon, Lambs Canyon, Millcreek Canyon, Butterfield Canyon, and many other mountainous areas. They conduct follow-up investigations for property crimes that occur within these canyons. Even though the canyons are not densely populated, their popularity as a destination for tourists and other visitors makes them a very busy area. The Cottonwood Canyons alone receive an estimated 8 million visitors every year (by contrast, Yellowstone National Park receives an estimated 3 million visitors per year).
The unique canyon environment presents a need for a variety of specialized skills above and beyond what is expected of the average patrol officer. These Canyon officers receive training in the use of snowmobiles, all terrain vehicles, avalanche transceivers, and helicopter operations to name a few. The officers are equipped to handle a wide variety of emergency and rescue calls. The unit also works collaboratively with the U.S. Forest Service, Unified Fire Authority, the town of Alta, Salt Lake City Division of Water Quality, Utah Department of Transportation Avalanche Forecasters, UDOT road crews, air medical helicopters, Wasatch Powderbird Guides, Wasatch Back-Country Rescue, and the ski patrols of each of the resorts in the area.
The Canyon Patrol’s operations are supplemented by the Salt lake County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue team.
Canyon Patrol officers are also tasked with providing community-oriented policing duties as a part of their assignment. Officers are the liaisons with ski resorts and all community councils.