BY MELINDA WILLIAMS
Clipper Staff Writer
FARMINGTON — The sacrifices law enforcement officers make go well beyond shift work, missed holidays and time with loved ones or a large paycheck.
They include being hated or despised for what they do or don’t do, having to process indescribable trauma and pain, having to overcome fear and facing the loss of the innocent. Sometimes, the ultimate sacrifice is asked: life.
That was the message Bountiful Police Chief Tom Ross shared at the annual Davis County Officer Memorial Service at the justice complex in Farmington on Monday.
As in past years, the ceremony included a flag ceremony and honor guard, bagpipers and a 21-gun salute.
It included a recognition of officers who have given their lives in the line of duty.
“Fortunately this year there were no Davis County officers killed in the line of duty,” Ross said.
Two officers from outside Davis County who were killed in 2012 were remembered: Jared Francom with the Ogden Police Department and Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Aaron Beesley.
Ross shared his thoughts on why men and women choose law enforcement as a career, saying that often it’s to live the life of a protector.
“There is an extreme sense of pride and fulfillment in being a protector and defender of a community, someone who is willing to fight for liberty and freedom to the end,” he said.
Despite its challenges, he called the career a wonderful opportunity.
“Officers deeply understand what they give up in order to be a protector,” he said.
In his 25-year career, Ross has learned to see past criminal conduct, “and recognize that most of these people have good inside them even though it may be hard to see at times,” he said.
“Through poor choices, addiction illness, they have become lost and many are looking for a way back,” he said. “This doesn’t excuse their behavior and the consequences of that behavior, but of we look for the good, it just might save us in the process and keep us from becoming cynical and damaged.”
“I don’t see criminals,” he later said, “I see people who make mistakes.”
He has benefitted personally by becoming more accepting, understanding and compassionate, he said.