April 22, 2002
Local officer recalls Olympic experience
by Lisa Allen
Valley View Editor
DUVALL - You might say law enforcement officers assigned to the security detail at the Olympic Winter Games had a bang-up time.
"More than anything, we blew up a lot of suspicious packages," recalled Duvall police Officer Mark Leitl, who spent his vacation working there as a volunteer.
Leitl, a six-year veteran of the Duvall Police Department, was one of 500 law enforcement officers out of 1,200 applicants selected to work as volunteers during the games.
Based in Park City, Utah, the center of the Alpine skiing and skating events, Leitl worked nine-hour shifts for the three-week duration of the Olympics.
"Mostly we patrolled Main Street," he said. "There were nine of us on the day shift with around 17,000 people. There were plenty of those suspicious packages, but we didn't have many property or personal assaults."
He did get a close-up view of how the FBI, Secret Service and Border Patrol do their jobs, using bomb sniffing dogs and robots to sniff out potential problems.
Although he likes to ski, he said he never had a chance, and only saw one event, a hockey game.
"We were real busy," he said. "We worked six on with one rest day. It was a lot of work, but fun, too."
Volunteers used their own badges but were issued special uniforms and ID from the Secret Service.
"That ID was the 'keys to the kingdom'," he said. "We could go anywhere."
Leitl said it was a "priceless" experience and he plans on volunteering for the 2004 summer games in Greece.
"I met a lot of great people," he said. "I am already looking forward to Athens."