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Utah officer shares story of a life or death moment with armed suspect

Local News

PROVO, Utah (ABC4 NEWS) He started his career of service as a firefighter and EMT but realized his heart was in police work. We catch up with Provo Police Officer Scott Nielsen in this week’s Behind the Badge report.

Officer Scott Nielsen is out patrolling the streets and training one of Provo’s new officers.

“When we’re driving around and taking calls I am constantly reminding them and hammering into them about people’s rights.”

In fact, that’s part of Officer Nielsen job these days – FTO or field training officer which gives the 43-year-old a chance to share his experience and knowledge.

“How to do our job correctly. Still, get our job done, but do it the right way. So things hold up in court.” 

And that experience started not when he was fighting crime, but when he was fighting fires.

“I started off wanting to be a firefighter. I went through the fire academy and worked part-time with South Jordan city.”  

Officer Nielsen’s father was in law enforcement and he says he eventually decided that was what he wanted to do.

“I think I was fighting something then I realized I wanted to do the law enforcement.” 

And he has covered a lot of ground since that decision. He was a K9 handler – working for six years with his partner Loki. He also spent six years on the department’s SWAT team. And, of course, patrolling the streets in Provo.

“The job is very enjoyable and rewarding.”

Officer Nielsen loves the variety of calls and issues he gets to handle as an officer.

“There is such a variety it really keeps it interesting. It’s fun and it’s interesting and I really enjoy it.”

But there are times it is extremely dangerous. Once a man stole a gun from a pawn shop and shot at the owner. “

A guy shot at him at on University Avenue – actually fired off rounds.” Officer

Nielsen found the suspect on the train tracks not far away.

“I got out of my car, grabbed the shotgun, crawled under a train and confronted the suspect. He took the gun out and actually raised the gun to his own head and told me to kill him…I thought he’s going to shoot me and make me kill him.”

“My heart sank cause I thought he was going to be shooting me any second, but the man then took his own life.”

Officer Nielsen says it was an incident he’ll never forget. 

But he adds – it’s the type of incident that he says, fortunately, doesn’t happen often.

Officer Nielsen’s father was a policeman in Orem for 34 years. Together they have served Orem and Provo for nearly 50 years.

To check out our behind the badge stories and nominate someone for a future story with Don just go to https://www.abc4.com/badge.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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