As I sit down to write this, it’s Father’s Day and Col. Fuhr is with some of the most professional and caring motor officers in this country as they escort fallen Officer Alyn Beck of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) to his final resting place in his home state of Wyoming.
A week prior, two individuals gunned down officer Beck and fellow LVMPD Officer Igor Soldo, without warning, while they were on their lunch break at a restaurant. Officers later shot and killed the male gunman in a shootout. It’s reported that the female accomplice then committed suicide. Members of our distinguished UHP Honor Guard represented all of DPS at the funerals of these dedicated officers. We at DPS have worked closely with Sheriff Gillespie and members of his department in recent years on public safety issues that tie our states together in fighting regional crime and countering terrorism. It is a great honor for us to be able to assist his department and the dear families of their fallen in these tributes to their service and sacrifice.
This is the heartfelt message Colonel Fuhr sent out to those involved with the escort:
I just wanted to take a second to thank each of you for coming out Serving With a Pure Commitment to Helping Others and helping escort Officer Alyn Beck back to his home in Wyoming. Today I have received correspondence from the Las Vegas Metro PD with overwhelming admiration for the way their brother was honored.
As we pulled into Wyoming at the end point, it was humbling to see the family exit their vehicles and hug the many officers who took part in the escort. I remember hugging Alyn’s father and thinking this will be a Fathers Day he will never forget. I had a hard time holding back the tears and the honor that I felt as I witnessed the special tribute you paid to a father who was struggling with the loss of his son.
You are all such great men and thank you for the effort you put forth to honor the Beck family.
This year, I was also very humbled to be asked by the Utah Fallen Officers Memorial Board to speak in behalf of law enforcement at the annual Memorial Service held May 1st at the Capitol. It was a tremendous honor to be part of that special tribute to the lives and caring service of Draper City Police Sergeant Derek Johnson and Utah County Sheriff’s Sergeant Cory Wride. These great and dedicated men gave their lives in protection of their communities, our state and nation. Both were attacked without warning and shot while they stopped to check on vehicles that were pulled to the side of the road. Although I’m occasionally asked to speak at various events, there have not been any that were more important for which to prepare. It was a very special day with several inspired speakers who very eloquently described these fine men and their lives of service. It was a great turnout with everyone providing love and support for the Johnson and Wride families.
I’m grateful that we live in a state where the members of our communities overwhelmingly appreciate and support the sacrifice that these brave men and their families made to ensure all of our safety. The funeral processions for Sgt. Johnson and Sgt. Wride were very special. It was such an amazing sight to see the streets lined for miles by the grateful and saddened citizens of their communities. Words can’t describe what it’s like to participate in those processions and seeing the children and adults holding flags and placing their hands over their hearts. Individuals and officers from all over the state and beyond were there to pay tribute. It was a very emotional experience to watch such a tremendous and sincere public turnout for these great men and their families.
Each year we honor all of our fallen officers who were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice in our behalf and pray that next year we will not add any new names to our Memorial Wall. Everyday- the men and women of Utah law enforcement put on their badge and uniforms and go on duty- realizing that the very next vehicle stop or call may place them in harms way and require them to potentially risk their lives. Those of us who are officers know that we continually train, practice and work through in our mind the hundreds of different situations that we could encounter on any given shift. We know that thinking of it beforehand can give us some advantage, but ours will always be the duty of the defender – the peace officer, who must react to the threats as they are presented.
I regularly reflect on fellow officers and good friends who have given their lives in the line of duty. I’m grateful for brave and caring State Troopers like Aaron Beesley, who like our other DPS fallen officers, dedicated his life and career to helping the people of Utah and his fellow public safety brothers and sisters. Sadly, there are too many more fallen officers who we will miss in the course of a career. Our lives move on as they must, but I’m so thankful to serve in a state whose citizens recognize the service and sacrifice of our law enforcement officers. A great state where we pay such an amazing tribute to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the service of others.
Please keep all of our fallen peace officers and their families in your thoughts and prayers. Find comfort in knowing that they were serving with a pure commitment to helping others. They chose to serve in this great profession because they are from backgrounds and personalities suited for nobly helping their communities and those in need. These men and women, like all who choose to serve in law enforcement, do so, recognizing that when they wear their badge and uniform they represent all that is good in our society. They are well aware that they are a target for evil and that by visibly representing us as our protectors they will draw the attention and fire of the violent criminals in our society who prey upon our families, neighbors and way of life. These are
incredibly brave officers who knew the dangers of their jobs and faced that danger every day so that we may all feel more safe and secure. They loved their families and their service. We are forever grateful to them- and to their families who are proudly carrying on their legacy and advocating for ways to increase their fellow officers’ safety.
I encourage you to visit our Utah Fallen Officers Memorial located on the west side of our State Capitol often. This very special memorial is a beautiful place to reflect on our fallen officers and appreciate their service and their families who are proudly carrying on their great legacies. It is a very solemn place to recognize how blessed we are that brave men and women of such caring and exceptional character as exemplified recently by Cory Wride, Derek Johnson and Aaron Beesley are serving our great state and its communities.