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West Valley City Police Department/Unified Police Department

Utah police departments mourn off-duty deaths of 2 law enforcement officers

By Katie McKellar, Deseret News | Updated - Nov. 4, 2018 at 4:25 p.m. | Posted - Nov. 4, 2018 at 3:35 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — The deaths of two long-time law enforcement officers from the Salt Lake area were announced Sunday — one, a retired lieutenant from West Valley, and the other a Unified Police sergeant. Both died from medical issues.

Both police departments issued statements lamenting the deaths, memorializing former West Valley police officer James Crowley and Unified Sgt. Cory Peterson as respected members of law enforcement.

"(Crowley) was a generous human being and dedicated police officer who gave of himself unselfishly to his family, friends, coworkers, and the citizens of West Valley City," the West Valley City Police Department said in a statement. "He will be deeply missed. Our prayers and thoughts go out to his family during this difficult time."

Crowley, 71, died due to a brain tumor, according to West Valley police spokeswoman Roxeanne Vainuku. Unified Police Sgt. Melody Gray said Peterson, 47, died from "medical-related issues" after being with the department for 10 years, as of last month.

"(He was) a great guy, I can't even tell you," Gray said. "The guy was so giving and was so generous that it's unbelievable. … Right now our hearts just really go out to his family and all the people who deeply loved him."

Unified police did not elaborate on Peterson's medical issues, but a GoFundMe page* set up to raise funds for Peterson's treatment said he had been in intensive care "due to pancreatitis and several compounding factors." The page had raised more than $9,000 as of Sunday.


Crowley was hired as a police officer in West Valley when the city first incorporated in 1980. He retired after 33 years of service, equaling 41 total years in law enforcement, according to city officials. During his service, Crowley was promoted to sergeant in 2000, before he was promoted to lieutenant in 2002. He worked as a supervisor in the patrol and investigations division, as well as the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Task Force and the chief's office.

"Following his retirement, Jim remained an active supporter of our department as a member of the West Valley City Honorary Colonels," West Valley officials said. "He was an integral part of bringing the Fraternal Order of Police to the State of Utah and was the longest standing state trustee on the national level at the time of his death. Jim Crowley dedicated his life to our profession."

Peterson was recently promoted to sergeant at the Midvale Precinct, where he had worked since 2012, Gray said.

Gray and Vainuku said funeral services for both men are forthcoming.

* 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.


Katie McKellar


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