SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) He served in the military. He was a Dallas police officer, a federal air marshal, and an author. Then he came back home to Utah, so he could serve and protect in Salt Lake City. In our Behind the Badge report, we meet Officer Jeffrey Denning.
“I wouldn’t want to work for any other police agency in the state or the whole nation, frankly. I absolutely love it here.”
Officer Jeffrey Denning patrols the streets of Salt Lake City. He’s also a police negotiator. And he helps officers navigate through tough times as a peer support leader. “There are those days that you deal with tragedy and horrible things. And you see people being victimized over and over again.”
And officer Denning has seen a lot of that during his career.
“One minute you’re hanging out and talking to some guys and the next minute they’re dead. It’s tough.” He served in the military and worked in the middle east for several years. “One of my friends – I was in the military police with – he and I were on the same team. He died – he was hit by an IED and killed while I was in Iraq.”
Although tragic – he says dealing with loss and suffering helped him to feel more sympathy and empathy for the citizens he serves and protects – like the night a Salt Lake City man lost his wife. “I just stayed with him until other family members could get there – which was hours.”
Denning also helped organize the SLCPD shooting team – which takes part in competitions. He says being a sharpshooter is important for police and is something he learned when he dealt with a hostage situation early in his career. “I remember thinking if I have to hold a ballistic shield and shoot with one hand – shoot a pistol with one hand. I need to be really good.” “…I remember thinking at one point – it’s time to get serious about shooting and being good and skilled at what I do.”
While Officer Denning has worked in several places and served in several positions – after two decades he says he just wanted to come back home to Utah. “I love Salt Lake City – actually, working as a police officer in the city is incredible too because there is a lot of action – and there’s a lot of things that happen. And I’m kind of more of an energetic guy that likes to do things and I have plenty of work to do here.”
Officer Denning also wrote this book – Warrior S.O.S. It shares war experiences from veterans with a focus on faith and healing. He wrote it to help his sister who lost her husband shortly after he returned from battle in the middle east. To get a copy of that book go to https://www.amazon.com/Warrior-SOS-Military-Veterans-Emotional/dp/1462117341
WEB EXTRA: Officer Denning also shared a lighter story with us about chasing a suspect into the Jordan River and having a K9 called in that ended up going after his partner before going after the bad guy.
And to nominate a first responder for a future story go to https://www.abc4.com/badge