Provo officers remembered at memorial service at start of National Police Week
In the bright sunlight on Monday morning, police officers and their families gathered together at the Provo Police Department to remember the officers who died in the line of duty while serving in Provo.
The memorial service comes at the start of National Police Week, an observance period for law enforcement created by President John F. Kennedy in 1962.
“It’s during this time we recognize and remember the significant sacrifice so many of our officers have made,” said Police Chief Richard Ferguson. “It is dedicated to the honorable men and women who serve and protect our communities every single day.”
Six Provo officers have died in the line of duty in the last 150 years of the department’s history, and each officer was recognized and saluted during the event.
As he thanked those in attendance for coming, Ferguson paused to compose himself as he acknowledged Lisa Halladay and Kaylyn Shinners, the wives of two fallen officers.
“I’m proud of this police department. I am honored to spend my career serving with each of you,” he said.
As of Monday, 41 officers have been killed across the United States this year. In 2017, 163 officers died in the line of duty.
Lt. Brian Taylor explained one of the reasons the department holds a memorial service every year is to remind officers of their importance.
“That gives meaning to their service when they go out and take risks,” he said. “We hope they know Provo city appreciates what they are doing.”
Master Officer Joseph Shinners, 29, was the first police officer killed in the line of duty in 2019. On Jan. 5, he worked with a dozen other officers to apprehend an armed fugitive in Orem.
While shielding another officer, Shinners was allegedly shot by the fugitive and died soon after. He was a three-year veteran on the force and left behind a wife and a 2-year-old son.
In 2006, narcotics detective Trent Halladay, 37, passed away after a seven-month battle with liver cancer. Doctors determined that the cancer was linked to Halladay’s exposure to carcinogenic chemicals used in the illegal manufacturing of methamphetamine.
For six years of his career, Halladay investigated and dismantled more than 100 covert meth labs in Utah County.
“I thought it was very beautiful the way they honor each of the officers,” Lisa Halladay said after the memorial service.
Sgt. Norman Nisson, 39, died in a car crash in January 1995. He was trying to make a left turn when his vehicle was struck from behind and pushed into oncoming traffic.
Almost 100 years earlier, Officer Frank Tucker, 35, died in June 1904 when his duty weapon accidentally discharged as he worked at the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.
Officer William Strong, 59, was killed by a transient in June 1899. He had returned from retirement to patrol a city train depot at night. He took a man into custody who shot him in the chest soon after.
The first law enforcement officer killed in Provo was 51-year-old Marshall Albert O. H. Bowen. He was trying to subdue an intoxicated man near a saloon in October 1873 when the man shot him in the head.
Pictures of each of the officers were displayed at the memorial event and a bell was rung one time after each biography was read.
“Our city is blessed with the most able, professional and caring police officers in the world. What better time to show our deep appreciation for their selfless devotion during police week?” said Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi. “Most of all I want to say thank you. I appreciate you and I’m grateful for the work you do every day.”