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The City Journals

Cheese sandwiches and a drive-by parade help express gratitude to essential workers

Jun 24, 2020 12:19PM ● By Heather Lawrence

The Dairy West Curds + Kindness truck stopped at Sandy Police on June 1 to spread some appreciation and gooey grilled cheese sandwiches. (Photo courtesy of Chris Bronson/Dairy West)

By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]

Sgt. Clayton Swensen of the Sandy Police Department is aware of the positive and negative attention that police across the nation are getting right now. “In this industry we’re always looking for ways to do what we do belter. The community, the culture, the environment of law enforcement is constantly changing,” Swensen said.

One way SPD and Emergency Medical Services supported their community was with a drive-by parade for caregivers at Alta View Hospital on May 8. The parade was during National Nurses Week.  

Swensen said several officers have experience working at Alta View. “We have a great relationship with [the staff there]. If we get hurt, they’re the first ones who are going to take care of us. Our jobs overlap quite a bit. It was our way to say thanks,” Swensen said.

The staff was touched by the parade. “A lot of staff came out to watch the police and EMS drive by. I saw a lot of emotion. There was so much anxiety with caregivers [since the COVID-19 pandemic]. It was special of SPD to come over,” said Amber Nielsen of Alta View’s Marketing and Communications Department. 

Emergency Department Manager Terri Davis loved watching as the SPD and EMS drove past the Emergency Department and the clinic on the north end and then looped past other offices and departments.

“Sandy Fire and EMS crews are at the heart of the community. Alta View Hospital caregivers and providers enjoy a caring and collaborative relationship with our emergency medical service providers. We stand together 6 feet apart, continually working together to provide excellent care. We love working with these teams,” Davis said.

On May 30, SPD experienced a different side of their job. SLC officers were on the streets during a Black Lives Matter protest downtown. Some protesters became aggressive, which was condemned by Black Lives Matter Utah, and SPD officers were called in for support.

“A lot of officers got called from home and went downtown to assist, and a lot were put on standby. We assisted throughout most of the next days and weeks to give SLC and other agencies some reprieve,” Swensen said.

Then on June 1, SPD got a visit from a traveling dairy truck. Dairy West, an organization that represents dairy farmers in Utah and Idaho, took a food truck on the road and delivered grilled cheese sandwiches to essential workers in their communities. SPD was one of their stops.

“In April, as we looked forward to National Dairy Month in June. We created Curds + Kindness to give back to our community. The stay-at-home order kept people away from the market, so we tried to match people experiencing hunger with dairy producers who had a milk surplus,” said Kristi Spence, senior vice president of marketing for Dairy West.

“In addition to helping producers and school districts, we wanted to show appreciation to the essential workers in our communities. So we got a food truck and took Curds + Kindness on the road,” Spence said.

Curds + Kindness made grilled cheese sandwiches with butter and cheese from local producers like Beehive Cheese and The Creamery, and bread from Stone Ground Bakery. “The Curds + Kindness truck stopped outside SPD on 10000 S. Centennial Pkwy. and gave out sandwiches on June 1,” Spence said.  

With protests ongoing around the nation, Spence said the donations’ timing wasn’t planned, but was very interesting. “Our message is one of kindness. That aligns with what people are calling for right now. No matter who that’s toward, there’s always room for kindness. Hopefully that message inspires others,” Spence said.  

Swensen said the timing was good for morale. “We’ve received a lot of inquiries about our practices from citizens. People want to know what we’re doing to make sure [discrimination and violence] doesn’t happen in our community. We’re confident in our policies and procedures, our ongoing training, and the things we do to protect everyone in the city and the state,” Swensen said.

SPD posted a letter on their Facebook page to address questions people had about policing practices and discrimination in Sandy. Swensen encourages everyone to read it in full. Any complaints or compliments can be made on the Sandy Police website under the resources tab.

“We feel like we do a good job here in Sandy. We do our best,” Swensen said. “We’ve got good officers that are respectful and want to do the right things for the right reasons.”