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OGDEN — An estimated 4,000 people attended the funeral of Ogden police officer Jared Francom at the Dee Events Center on Jan. 11. Thousands more lined the streets of Ogden to watch the huge procession and honor the officer who died in the line of duty.
One detective took it upon himself to preserve those moments, even though some of those memories might be painful, and hopes to raise money for the families of the six officers shot while serving a search warrant with the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force on Jan. 4 .
Brandon Mizar is both a detective with the Ogden Police Department and a professional photographer. He worked with Francom. He said he spoke with him just a couple of days before the shooting and the events of that night are just hard to comprehend. He also knows several of the officers who were injured in the shootout.
"I figured I'd just get in there and document it as well as I could, so that everyone would have good memories and be able to see what happened," he said.
He says several officers that were in the funeral procession were not able to make it to the graveside services because the procession was so long. "For me, to be able to show that, what happened, it's a good feeling for me," Mizar said.
They are moments filled with emotion now captured in pictures. "It was very hard to shoot," he said on the verge of tears. "I was crying like a baby every time I was trying to take photos. I'd see a moment and then I'd start crying as I was taking it."
As picturesque as the day was, Mizar says being so close to the emotion, seeing the expression in people's faces, wasn't always easy. Being in the department, he said, there were a lot of deeper emotions involved with the photos.
"I couldn't even go through the photos for the first couple of days after the funeral, just because it immediately brought back all the emotions inside," he said.
Some of those moments, he says, were even too personal to share. "It's pretty emotional stuff," he said. "It was tough to shoot, that's for sure."
There are images that will be shown only to those closest to Francom because Mizar says they are very hard to look at. He said if any of the families request those photos, they could have them.
In general, he just wanted to share the major moments of the funeral, "that's not too deep and personal, not too revealing, but something that could bring out emotions."
Still, as difficult as it was he says capturing those moments was well worth it. "Hands down (it) was the most powerful experience I've ever gone through," he said, "and it was … very rewarding at the same time."
Rewarding he says because already people have ordered more than a hundred of his prints.
"I've never shot anything like it," he said, "and hopefully I never have to again just because it's a sad deal."