MURRAY (ABC4 News) – A former Utah Transit Authority police officer’s legacy of service continues a month after her untimely death.
Mary Margaret Smith-Rowland earned a Psychology Degree from Westminster College and originally wanted to be a nurse but during nursing school decided to be a police officer instead. She served years with the Murray Police Department, earning numerous awards before joining the UTAPD in 2012.
Chief Fred Ross says Officer Meg played a large role despite her petite size.
“Small in stature but she had a heart the size of Alaska. She would always put everybody else ahead of herself,” Chief Ross told Behind The Badge. “That’s just the type of person she was. Whether she was on-duty or off-duty she would jump into action.”
Examples include the time she saved the life of a woman having a medical emergency, the time she rescued an escaped horse on her way to work or the many times she’d feed homeless people staying along the train tracks.
“There were times that she would go home, get out of her uniform, park her patrol vehicle and go back to the local market and get a chicken of some other form of dinner and give it to somebody who was under the viaduct,” Chief Ross said.
On December 22nd Officer Rowland suffered a debilitating brain aneurysm and despite a brave effort to recover, another aneurysm claimed her life on February 15th. She left behind her husband Scott, four step-children and her law enforcement family. She was just 54 years old.
“It was very devastating to all of us,” Chief Ross said. “You know those of us that wear the uniform become very very close from what we do and see and to lose somebody in any fashion has been very very difficult.”
Fellow UTA Officer Rufus Tolbert delivered the eulogy at her funeral service.
“Meg dedicated her life to the badge,” Officer Tolbert told mourners. “Working out to stay fit, using her degree in psychology to help others solve their problems and being the best she could be.”
Now she’s the first officer that Behind The Badge has honored posthumously.
“I think she would be beyond flattered and pleased that all the sacrifices that she made with her family, missed birthdays, dinners and all that didn’t go unrecognized,” Chief Ross said, his voice trembling with emotion. “What she set out to do 30 years ago is exactly what she did. She left it all out there.”
Officer Rowland continues to positively impact lives even after her death. Her donated organs were transplanted into a number of different patients so she continues to live on through them.
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