SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) Recently, Lincoln Gaffney was named News4Utah Junior Reporter for a day. The 10-year-old wanted to do a story with a law enforcement officer. So, Lincoln and Don Hudson met up with a UHP Trooper Steve Myer for this weeks Behind the Badge report.
It may not be “Jon and Ponch”, but on this day “Myer and Gaffney” were keeping an eye on I-15. “See how this guy is driving across the lines and stuff – we’re going to stop and have a chat with him.” Trooper Steve Myer has been with UHP for nearly 30 years. He loves being a trooper so much that after he retired, he came back about four years later to patrol the roads once again. “I do it for the feeling you get to helping others.”
Trooper Myer says being a lawman was something he has wanted to do since his childhood. “Something I leaned toward and always wanted to do. I started doing some reserve work in Kamas – even during high school. Just fell in love with it.” While we spent some time with Trooper Myer on the road – Lincoln and I also had a chance to sit down in his office to ask him some questions about his job. One question – is his job dangerous? “It’s dangerous. It’s a dangerous job. And it gets more dangerous as time goes on.” Trooper Myer told Lincoln about a shooting he was involved in several years ago. “I’ve been in a shooting where I was shot at. That is stuck in my mind forever – I think about it every day when I step out of the car.” That shooting happened on Redwood Road in Salt Lake City. “We were on a DUI stop. A car came by and fired around four rounds as it drove by. Luckily it missed us.” Myer says he and another trooper found and arrested the shooters within minutes.
Myer began his career as an officer with Kamas Police in 1983. Then he had a brief stint with Grantsville PD before joining UHP. He has worked security for the Olympics, has been on the SWAT team, served on the Governor’s security team and the DUI Squad. The 52-year-old moved up the ranks to Sgt and Lieutenant.
He’s also on the UHP motorcycle squad. “It feels really free to me. You’re just open. The agility of the motorcycle – it’s so much easier.” “It’s way easier to stop cars on a motorcycle. People don’t see you for one. It is a great enforcement tool.” Another part of the job Trooper Myer loves is working with his family – literally. “I have a son who works here. I have a son-in-law who works here. And I have a cousin who works here.” Myer says troopers don’t write tickets to be mean – they write them to educate motorists and protect other drivers. During one stop he explained to Lincoln about the tickets he was issuing to a motorist. “Ones for speeding. And one for not wearing a seatbelt.”
While that is part of the job – his love for police work – comes from his love of service and that is why he says he serves and protects. “It’s not just about writing tickets and taking people to jail. That’s part of what we have to do, but ultimately helping someone change a tire or giving them gas or giving them a ride or they broke down and got to get them to the airport before the plane leaves – stuff like that. The little things – that is the fun part.”
Trooper Myer’s return to UHP wasn’t easy. He came back at the age of 45 and had to go through the patrol testing, physical fitness testing, psychological testings and firearm testing. He also had an accident and lost part of his right index finger. He had to relearn to shoot his gun with his left hand. After he was certified to do that he taught himself how to shoot with his middle finger on his right hand. So now he can shoot left or right handed.
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