Saturday, September 6, 2008


Every day a police officer kisses his or her spouse and children goodbye and goes out to face danger to protect us and our children – not knowing if they will ever see their loved ones again. In Utah, 126 officers did not return. The greatest honor I have had as Utah’s Attorney General is to get to know and work with the extraordinary men and women in law enforcement. Today, Governor Huntsman paid me a tribute that moved me deeply. He said, “Attorney General Shurtleff loves the men and women in law enforcement!”

The Governor spoke today at the dedication of the beautiful new Utah Law Enforcement Memorial on Capitol Hill. Thousands turned out to honor the 126 police officers who gave the ultimate sacrifice in their commitment to protect and to serve the people of Utah.

In my first 28 months in office, I attended the funerals of seven police officers killed in the line of duty. From the June 6, 2001 murder of Roosevelt Police Chief Cecil Gurr, who was shot to death when he and other officers responded to a report of a man with a gun and a hostage, to the May 27, 2003 death of young Emery County Sheriff Deputy Jeremiah Johnson who was killed when his car collided head-on with a coal truck as he rounded a corner while on patrol, I mourned with their families and friends and learned of the extraordinary men who gave their all, and of their amazing families who gave their daddies, husbands and sons to us - and now must go on without them.

I was honored to be a member of the selection committee that picked the artist and statues that would mark the site with larger than life depictions of officers doing their duty. My favorite is the depiction of the first Utah officer killed in the line of duty, Rodney Badger, who drowned after saving a mother and four children from the Weber River. The statue depicts the sodden deputy with a child in his arms. I was also honored to sponsor, with my family, a bronze plaque for Frisco Police Officer Daniel Mahoney who in 1883, while conducting his evening rounds, encountered three intoxicated individuals causing a disturbance. When he ordered them off the street, one of the men drew a pistol and shot him in the stomach. My kids love exploring Frisco Ghost Town in Beaver County, and when we learned no family could be found to sponsor the plaque, we did so.

This memorial is a place where families can feel proud of the sacrifice of their loved one as they gaze upon the inspiring statues, and feel comfort and inspiration as they touch a bronze plaque on the granite wall. But it is also a monument for all Utahns to pay tribute to those who gave their all, and hopefully a visit there will move them to perhaps slow down a little, look out for their neighbors, teach their kids to obey the law, and even, when they have the “unpleasant” experience of being stopped by a cop, they will respond with respect and perhaps even thank that officer for risking his or her life to protect them.

For more information about the memorial and biographies of the 126 officers killed in the line of duty, or to make a donation to the endowment please go to

Click on the links below to view news stories of the dedication ceremony.


Curtis Gibby said...

Link to ABC 4 story:

Dyar Family said...

Your welcome for the flowers, Tracy tried to find to most masculine ones she could find :) Hope your visit with Ton was good.

Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said...

Thanks Curtis. I didn't deliberately leave abc4 off, I just didn't see a story when I posted this. Thanks! I'll add it to the blog post.