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After tragedy, Ogden police moving forward

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OGDEN -- Two weeks ago, Ogden resident Matthew Stewart opened fire on six officers as part of the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force, killing officer Jared Francom. Despite the loss to one of their own, the strike force is still out there serving search warrants.

Interim Ogden Police Chief Wayne Tarwater said the department is slowly regrouping, but the morale is higher than ever, which he credits to the outpouring of support from the Ogden community and beyond.

"What a tribute that is, and the community and how much they care," Tarwater said.

However, Tarwater warns there are darker days ahead, with the department still recouping from the death of officer Jared Francom. This week, the officers will begin debriefing sessions, where they will talk about what happened and how they feel about it. But they're also looking for individually signs that an officer might not be coping well.

"We're trying to work with them individually to make sure they get some sort of counseling, even if we have to push them to that," Tarwater said.

With so much attention paid to Ogden Police, Tarwater knows he has the support of the community for what's happened in the past. However, he hopes he has the communities' support for the future.

We're trying to work with them individually to make sure they get some sort of counseling, even if we have to push them to that.

–Wayne Tarwater

"I hope people are pleased with the way we have managed this," Tarwater said.

Less than 48 hours before the Ogden shooting, Tarwater officially took over as the interim police chief, as did Ogden's new mayor Mike Caldwell.

"We're both new to the position and thrust into this," Tarwater said.

After helping to orchestrate a funeral for officer Francom, acting as the public face to a very public tragedy, Tarwater said he'd like to drop the interim title and keep the position as police chief.

"Hopefully I'll have an opportunity to continue in this position as chief," Tarwater said.

As a 34-year veteran of the department, Tarwater spent five years with the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force. He said he knows the challenges and obstacles the officers face.

"We realize this is a situation that won't be over anytime soon," Tarwater said.

Tarwater said there is a lot of information that he can't release about the investigation that happened that deadly night two weeks ago, but he did say the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force is back together and working to serve search warrants.


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