Six years ago, I spent a few days with a then-Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office detective named Todd Park. He showed me a way of looking at this city that I've never forgotten. Yesterday, his work as a cold-case detective earned him recognition from a nonprofit that investigates unsolved homicides.
The Vidocq Society gave Park, now a Unified Police Department detective, its medal of honor on Wednesday, according to a story in The Salt Lake Tribune.
What I recall most about following Park as he investigated a cold case for a story titled "The Ice Man Cometh" was how his world inevitably focused on the ghostly city landscape of decades long since past.
As he'd drive into an apartment complex and point at doors or an alleyway where, years ago, one person met his fate at the hands of another, Park had the curious knack of making his words and the acts he described more vivid, more real, than the buildings before you.
The world of ghosts he evoked, that lived in his mind as he sought clues sifting through the ashes of long-cold reports and photographs, spoke to his curious genius.