clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Utah police gather at vigil to mourn fallen Dallas officers

SALT LAKE CITY — Jim Winder's voice rose Thursday as he stressed the human cost incurred when five police officers were shot and killed in Dallas last week.

"It's important to remember that they were human beings," Winder said, addressing a crowd of more than 100 officers, their families and other mourners at the Utah Law Enforcement Memorial on the grounds of the Capitol.

Winder and the heads of several other agencies came together to read aloud the obituaries of the fallen officers, bow in prayer together and pay tribute to the victims of the July 7 shooting.

Winder said the shootings are a reminder of society's need for police to protect and serve.

"(Peace) is a commodity we cannot count on," he said. "Peace sometimes comes at a price."

The somber service also included a flag ceremony, Salt Lake police officer Richard Chipping's solo rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and a symbolic three-volley salute.

Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown, who organized the event, said he shed some tears while the officers were being remembered.

"You're not human if you don't shed a tear," he said.

Brown said the horrors of the Dallas shooting are a reminder of the need for police officers and civilians to unite in communities throughout the country.

"We need to come together as a community and heal these wounds and divides … that we perceive," he said.

The chief added that perceptions of such division and distrust result when police and civilians view each other as large conglomerates of people rather than as individuals, "as fathers, mothers, sons, daughters."

"It's hard to hate up close," he said.

Brown said he's encouraged by the community's support and his department's efforts to work closely with others in the community.

"I really feel like here in Salt Lake City we are on a very good course," he said, noting his agency's cooperation with the city-appointed civilian review board.

Salt Lake City Police Chaplain Herman Lowe also prayed at Thursday's vigil, asking for peace.

"We ask you that this tragedy may never happens again on U.S. soil or anywhere in the world," Herman said in his prayer.

In his remarks, Winder also pointed to Thursday's deadly attacks in France, believed to be terror-related, as another reminder that peace should not be taken for granted. Those who embrace peace, he said, mourn with the French people.

"When any life is lost, we must mourn," he said. "And God says, 'Blessed are the peacemakers.'"

Centerville Police Chief Paul Child said he was grateful to be in attendance at Thursday's vigil because of the impact the Dallas shootings had on his department.

"It was a gut-shot. All of us that wear the badge, we were the targets," Child said. "It was a real blow to (Centerville police officers) when you consider all the circumstances."

The officers who lost their lives have galvanized law enforcement all around the country and elsewhere, according to Child.

"Every officer everywhere would love to go to Dallas" to pay tribute to the fallen officers, Child said.

Police officers must continue to work to maintaining the trust of the communities they serve, he said.

"We understand that there's work to be done," Child said. "And we (will) pull together. … It's my duty and it's my challenge to try to put myself in that homeless person's shoes, that minority person's shoes or that disabled individual's shoes."


Twitter: benlockhartnews