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Behind The Badge: Chief Jack Carruth is the steady hand guiding the South Salt Lake Police Department

Behind the Badge

SOUTH SALT LAKE (ABC4 News) – Jack Carruth has been a steady presence in the South Salt Lake Police Department for over two decades.

He started out as a Patrol Officer 24 years ago this month. After moving up the ladder to Sergeant, Captain, and Deputy Chief, he was named the Chief in 2014 and his tenure with the SSLPD has been marked by three notable tragedies.

In 2008 he was the Incident Commander for the disappearance and murder of 7-year-old Her Ner Moo a case that shocked the community and eventually sent her 25-year-old neighbor Esar Met to prison for life. Two years later, now Deputy Chief Carruth responded to the scene of another shocking murder when 64-year-old Sherry Black was found beaten and stabbed to death in her bookstore.

“We were very meticulous in the beginning to collecting evidence,” Chief Carruth recalls. “Not knowing where this case would go.”

That crime would baffle investigators for years to come. It continued to weigh on Carruth even as he took over as Chief in 2014 and dealt with another devastating loss four years later.

“Just prior to 10 o’clock last night Officer David Romrell passed away,” he said on November 25th, 2018. “Officer David Romrell leaves behind a wife and a 4-month-old newborn baby.”

The 31-year-old had only served with the Department for 11 months when he was intentionally run over by a fleeing suspect.

“It’s painful. That’s all I can say. At the least it’s painful,” Chief Carruth said at Officer Romrell’s funeral on December 5th, 2018. “There are good days and bad days and good moments and bad moments. We are just taking each moment one step at a time.”

Chief Carruth continues to keep in touch with Officer Romrell’s widow and son.

Until recently he wondered if the Sherry Black case would ever be solved.

“The worst-case scenario would be the individual passes away and his DNA is never processed or put into any database,” Chief Carruth said. “That could have been one of the factors that led this case to go on forever.”

But just this month, advanced DNA and genealogy techniques led investigators to 29-year-old Adam Durborow who was charged with aggravated murder for the death of Mrs. Black, finally providing some comfort and closure to her family.

“It’s a mom, a grandmother, a wife,” Chief Carruth told Behind The Badge. “Just being in the middle of it, feeling the pain of the family, the loss and quickly realizing who this individual was, who Sherry Black was. It was a senseless crime and she was very much the victim of that case and it’s hard to see that.”

ABC4 asked Chief Carruth if he had a nomination for a future Behind The Badge segment, one of his officers who go above and beyond the call of duty. 

After thinking for a second, he answered that all 69 of his officers do that each and every day.

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