Ogden officers given Sunday off to rest

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p>OGDEN — Todd Christensen said there was nothing he'd rather be doing Sunday than patrolling the streets of Ogden.

Christensen, a patrol deputy and community resource officer with the Weber County Sheriff's Office, was among the out-of-area public safety officials working overtime Sunday so their colleagues in the Ogden Police Department could have the day off.

"It's a great opportunity to give our brothers a day off and (let them) take some time to be at home with their families," Christensen said.

On Wednesday night, Ogden police officer Jared Francom was shot and killed during a drug raid. Five other members of the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force — including three Ogden police officers — were injured during the gunfight.

All Ogden Police Department employees were given the day off Sunday to mourn the loss of their co-worker and honor their injured colleagues.

The Weber County Sheriff's Office, Salt Lake City Police Department and Utah Highway Patrol handled law enforcement duties in Ogden from 6:30 a.m. Sunday until 6:30 a.m. Monday.

"We couldn't ask for more support from the law enforcement and public safety community," Ogden interim Police Chief Wayne Tarwater said.

UHP Lt. Chris Simmons called it a "sense of obligation" and "a way to support our brothers" in law enforcement.

"A lot of us have a tremendous, overwhelming feeling of sorrow for them," Simmons said. "This is a way for us to give back and maybe remove that helpless feelings that we have."

Francom's death has shaken the law enforcement community, Christensen said.

"This last week has been emotionally rough for everyone, for the officers involved and for the officers as a brotherhood," he said. "We wanted to give them an opportunity to be with their families and loved ones, and let them know we're fighting a good fight out here."

Tarwater said the 24-hour break was a necessity — and mandatory.

"They want to be here. They want to keep working," he said of his officers. "They just don't realize their bodies, their minds need to recuperate. Their families need them, their children need to see them. … Whether they want to or not, they need the time off."

Offers of support from law enforcement agencies throughout the state came pouring in as soon as word of the tragedy spread Wednesday night, Tarwater said.

Simmons was among the first to call and offer assistance, the Ogden chief said.

"Most of these officers are going through something that most of them have never gone through before and probably won't go through again in their careers," Simmons said. "For them to have an opportunity to power down or decompress from the events of losing a fellow officer and the impact it's had on them, this is the least we can do for them, to give them a day to relax."

In addition to covering shifts Sunday, area public safety agencies have volunteered to fill in Wednesday morning to allow Ogden officers and support staff to attend Francom's funeral.

"They're offering everything they can offer," Tarwater said. "Nobody has asked for any kind of compensation from Ogden city for this. They're just offering it up. That's what's so neat about it."

Funeral services for Francom are set for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Weber State University's Dee Events Center, 4450 Harrison Blvd.

Weber County Sheriff's Sgt. Nate Hutchinson, one of the six officers shot, was released from the hospital Sunday.

Ogden police officer Kasey Burrell remains in critical condition at McKay-Dee Hospital. Fellow Ogden officers Michael Rounkles and Shawn Grogan were in fair condition Sunday, hospital spokesman Chris Dallin said.

Roy police officer Jason Vanderwarf, who was shot in the hip, was released from the hospital Thursday.

The officers were serving a warrant at the home of Matthew Davis Stewart at 3268 Jackson Ave. on Wednesday when police say Stewart met them at the door with gunfire.

Hutchinson was shot four times, twice to his vest, once to his arm and once through his hip, according to a law enforcement source.

"We appreciate all the support of our family," the Hutchinson family said in a statement Sunday. "The community support has been amazing."

Grogan was shot in the face through the cheek. Burrell was shot twice, once in the stomach, and his face was hit with fragments. Rounkles was shot in the leg next to his femoral artery, and the bullet was still lodged inside.

Accused shooter Stewart remains hospitalized at Ogden Regional Medical Center with injuries that are not life threatening.

Funds for each of the six officers have been set up in their names at all Bank of Utah locations.

Written by Jared Page with contributions from Sandra Yi.


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