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Draper police officer takes on new role as city’s park ranger

Oct 02, 2017 04:12PM ● Published by Jana Klopsch

Officer Ryan Clegg often patrols Corner Canyon and the surrounding areas with his truck or bike. (Jon Beesley/Resident)

Draper Police Department Officer Ryan Clegg has been able to mix his love for the outdoors and mountain biking into his full-time police responsibilities. As the first park ranger for Draper City, Clegg spends his time patrolling Corner Canyon and the surrounding area. 

When the city decided to add a new position to the police force, Clegg jumped at the opportunity. Since stepping into the role in early July, Ranger Clegg (as some residents jokingly call him) has added a police presence to the area that hasn’t existed before.

“The issues we were having in the canyon were not being patrolled by our officers since we are understaffed and we don’t have the time to go way back into the open space,” Clegg said. “It also doesn’t make sense since we don’t have the right vehicles or equipment and a lot of officers don’t know where they are going because they are unfamiliar with the bike trails. You really have to be an avid biker or have a passion to be up there to know where you are going.”

Some issues that have mostly gone unaddressed in the area include trespassing, vandalism, campfires, fireworks, violating trail rules and not locking up the gates at various trailheads at night. Clegg is addressing those issues in his new role.

During the first year of his new position, Clegg knows the mayor, city council and police department will be watching closely to see what kind of activities have flown under the radar in the past. He’s hoping he’ll soon have someone else to work with “if I can show there’s a need for it.”

Since becoming a Draper officer five years ago, Clegg has spent hours exploring the area on his mountain bike trying to familiarize himself with the area. He fell in love with the area because there are so many different loops and trails to take. 

Clegg works 40 hours a week and spends those hours in the mountains doing whatever he sees fit. Oftentimes in the cool parts of the day, Clegg can be seen riding his bike up and down the trails, finding problem areas and making sure the various bikers, hikers and motorists don’t have any issues with each other. The rest of the time he’s on duty, he drives his truck around to the trailheads and other problem areas to patrol.

“I just vary for the needs of the canyon. And I blend in with what really needs to happen,” Clegg said. “There are times that I need to be up there over the weekend during the evening hours because that’s when the juveniles are coming out or the crime is occurring.” 

Even though it may seem like a lonely job — patrolling the canyon for hours on end — Clegg has found that people in the area have taken an interest in him and what he’s doing up there.

“I hang out at the trailheads sometimes just to talk to people. They’re interested in knowing what’s going on, why there’s a guy with a gun belt and about the new position. I’ve gotten a lot of questions and lots of positive contact,” Clegg said. “They’re happy to see me, which is different for me.”

Clegg is in charge of the area from Orson Smith Trailhead — or the Northeast part of Draper — through Corner Canyon and Suncrest, into Alpine and Highland. “It’s a large area,” Clegg said.

“Overall, it’s a fun job — I can’t complain. I get to get out on my bike and I’m always active, which is really nice. The hard part about this job is making sure you don’t overdo it in a day or week,” Clegg said. “You have to pace yourself and know where you’re going and for how long, and make sure you’re doing regular checks with dispatch to let them know where you’re at. But I enjoy my job and I love talking to the community.” 

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