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Utah and National Police Week

Memorial to fallen police officers in Utah.
(Photo Courtesy Utah Law Enforcement Memorial)

Many Utahns are familiar with the names of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, but few have ever heard of Grand County Sheriff Jesse Tyler and Deputy Samuel Jenkins, who were shot to death in 1900 by members of the Wild Bunch.

As the United States commemorates National Police Week, held this year between May 12 and 18, it’s important to reflect on the role played by law enforcement officers in Utah, particularly those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Those we lost

The first police officer to fall in the line of duty in Utah was Salt Lake County Deputy Sheriff Rodney Badger who drowned while attempting to save a pioneer family stranded in the Weber River.

As the population of Utah swelled, so too did the amount of police officers servicing the state, and unfortunately more officers joined the roll call of the fallen. As of 2024, a total of 147 police officers in Utah have lost their lives in the line of duty.

How we remember them

The first memorial commemorating fallen officers in Utah was erected in 1989 near the Rotunda at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City.

The original call for names for the memorial resulted in only approximately 40 names. Dozens more were added in 1994 following new research by the Utah Peace Officers Association which identified forgotten officers.

The memorial at the State Capitol was removed in 2004 due to construction, and a new memorial was required.

Policing in Utah today

Fallen officers in Utah are today memorialized by a memorial located just outside the western doors of the State Capitol.

Dedicated on September 6, 2008, and built with more than $1.2 million in donations, the memorial today serves as a place of reflection for both relatives of the fallen and general members of the public.

Memorial to fallen police officers in Utah.
(Photo Courtesy Utah Law Enforcement Memorial)