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Press Release

My View: Honor Those Who Run Toward Danger

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Utah
By John Huber - United States Attorney

           Law enforcement officers throughout the state serve and protect our communities. Where these professionals see someone in need, they act.

           Utah police officers have made our community a better place in ways both large and small.  We have seen many examples of their commitment to the communities they serve. A Unified police officer stopped to change a flat tire for a woman on Redwood Road to ensure she got home safely. One observant Orem police officer surprised a struggling single mother by coordinating the delivery of donated appliances and home essentials for her young family. A St. George police officer saved two lives in one day, by performing CPR on a critically ill middle school student and later by removing an obstruction from the airway of a 9-day-old infant.

           These professionals put their own lives at risk to keep our communities safe.  We have just experienced the tragic loss of Officer Doug Barney as he was working to protect the community he served. Other examples often go unnoticed. A Sandy police officer pulled a woman from a burning car moments before the car was engulfed in flames. A West Jordan police officer turned himself into a human shield while rescuing three children and their mother from an armed attacker. Another brave police officer came to the rescue of two adult sisters under deadly attack from a home intruder in Salt Lake City. Not long ago, a police officer dared to venture onto cracking ice to save a woman who had plunged into Mantua Reservoir.

           Whether the call for help requires a dramatic rescue or a simple act of kindness, officers consistently place the needs of the community above their own. These men and women suit up knowing that many with whom they come in contact during their shift will not appreciate their efforts. They know that split-second decisions may be second-guessed and scrutinized for months and years to come. They leave home with no promise of a safe return to their families.

           The overwhelming majority of these officers exercise sound judgment throughout their shifts each day. They enforce duly enacted laws with fidelity and soberness. These men and women also understand that they are accountable to those whom they serve. Our communities expect, and deserve, the very best from the law enforcement officers trusted with the power and authority to enforce the law.

           Public discourse regarding how law enforcement officers exercise that authority, while sometimes uncomfortable, is a hallmark of what makes our nation and judicial system great. When an officer does not live up to society’s high expectations, fair criticism often leads to positive improvements for more effective policing. When an officer acts outside the bounds of the law, our justice system is ready and able to address such transgressions.  The rule of law ensures that no one is above scrutiny.

           In addressing those isolated incidents where police power is abused, we must not forget that our law enforcement professionals are a force for good in our communities. It is misguided to impugn any group based on wrongs committed by a few aberrant members, but it is dangerous to apply that proposition toward all law enforcement.

           Utah communities have rallied around their police officers to express gratitude for their willingness to respond to the most dangerous and heart-wrenching episodes of our lives. They meet those expectations with courage and fortitude unknown to many of us.

           So hats off to our law enforcement professionals – the few who run toward the danger before it reaches the rest of us.

Updated February 9, 2016

Community Outreach