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Unified police mourn retired officer who drowned at Flaming Gorge Reservoir

By Ashley Kewish, KSL TV | Updated - Sep 3rd, 2018 @ 11:35pm | Posted - Sep 3rd, 2018 @ 12:53pm


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SALT LAKE CITY – The Unified Police Department is mourning the death of one of their own. Mikal Wersland drowned Sunday at Flaming Gorge Reservoir. Even though he recently retired from the force, he was still very much a part of the family.

Wersland served in the South Salt Lake Police Department and, more recently, the Unified Police Department.

Sheriff Rosie Rivera, with the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office, remembered his more than 20 years of service.

“He was the one, if you were out on a call and it was going bad, that is who you wanted as your backup,” said Rivera. “He was one who really cared about people."

In 2015, KSL was there as Wersland came to the aid of a citizen who had his wheelchair stolen.

“You know, it just tugs at your heartstrings,” Wersland said.

KSL spoke with him about taking the police report from the victim and former Navy veteran.

“You know, the reality of recovering his wheelchair with the information we had at the time was almost impossible,” Wersland said.

Sheriff Rivera remembers that day well. “(He) took it upon himself to go raise money and replace that wheelchair,” she said. “He was that great of a guy.”

A moment, captured forever, never to be forgotten, in his own words: “I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I’ve never experienced anything like this,” he said back in 2015.

Wersland’s death hit one Unified police sergeant, who just happened to be at Cedar Springs Marina Sunday, especially hard.

“(The sergeant) ran over to see what the problem was because people were screaming on the boat,” Rivera said. “(The sergeant) immediately took over CPR and worked on (Wersland) for a very long and wasn’t able to get him back.”

Wersland isn’t just going to be missed as a police officer who served our community, but as a father and a brother who can never be replaced.

“It’s just heartbreaking for everyone,” Rivera said. “It’s especially heartbreaking for his family.”

Wersland leaves behind four children.

There is account set up at America First Credit Union under the name, “Mikal Wersland’s Children Fund”* to help with upcoming family expenses.

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*KSL.com does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Updated: Saturday November 17, 2018 5:45 pm