Weight of the Call: The Importance of Peer Support

Fallen Officer

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – The Utah Fraternal Order of Police is helping the family of a fallen Ogden Police officer and the law enforcement community grieve Thursday night.

An oficer died from a gunshot wound at McKay-Dee Hospital. Around noon, the officer responded to a domestic violence call where a family needed help.

Police said the suspect fired several shots through a door fatally wounding the officer, and injuring an Adult Probation and Parole officer who is expected to survive.

“We lost one of our own today,” said Shante Johnsen with the Utah FOP. “And we are all just really heartbroken about that.”

Johnson spent Thursday with the family of the fallen officer at McKay-Dee Hospital.
It’s something that others did for her when she lost her husband Derek in September of 2013.

“That’s why I go down. I just want her and the family to know, you know we are here. We have this big family behind here and we just would do anything we can for her,” she said. “My fear is that you know, things aren’t going to be like we are used to and so I just want this family to know they are loved.”

She says it’s days like this where peer support is essential.

“We can’t do this alone. We all have to have each other and we’ve all experienced that on some level or another, so we are all going to be able to be a shoulders or have the right words, or just be there to offer a hug, even though we are not allowed to do that right now,” she added. “You know that’s how we do it. That is the only way I’ve gotten through the last six and a half years is with each other.”

The FOP is offering trained clinicians for officers who need it.

The State Critical Incident Stress Management Team is also aiding in the officers’ needs by sending additional peer support teams.

The Department of Public Safety is offering support to Ogden Police and plans to have the color guard watch over the officer’s body at the Medical Examiner’s Office.

All area law enforcement agencies have offered to take over shifts for Ogden Police during this time.

Because of COVID-19, an additional weight of the call is placed on the law enforcement community, figuring out how to hold a funeral in the middle of a pandemic.

“I want you to know somebody’s life is shattered and I want you to think about them and pray for them, just let them know you care.”

Johnson says there are many ways to show your support to the law enforcement community in upcoming days.

“You know you could fly a flag in your yard. You can change your lights on your porch to blue. You can leave notes on social media because all of that matters. It’s all positive energy that goes out,”

Johnson says they are trying to stay positive. They know this officer was there to help save someone suffering from domestic violence, and that it’s one of the most unpredictable calls any officer can respond too.

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