Pubdate: Fri, 06 Jan 2012
Source: Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT)
Copyright: 2012 Deseret News Publishing Corp.


Ogden's interim police chief spoke this week of the "law-enforcement
family" that was mourning the death of Agent Jared Francom. And while
no one outside that family can fully comprehend the pain and sense of
loss being felt this week, it should be noted that all of Ogden, and
the entire state of Utah, as well, are part of an extended family that
shares in the sorrow for a senseless tragedy and an awful loss.

Law-enforcement officers are the threads that bind the fabric of
civilization. More than just investigating crimes, writing citations
and making arrests, they make the rule of law an action phrase, rather
than just a principle in a civics textbook. They provide a recourse
from the minority who would plunder or abuse for their own gain, and
they allow peaceful people to prosper and exercise liberties.

An assault on a peace officer is an assault against civilization
itself. Beyond even the anguish over the loss of an officer's life,
that is what makes the attack on Francom and five of his colleagues
Wednesday night so disturbing.

Twelve officers, part of the Weber-Morgan Metro Narcotics Strike
Force, entered a home to serve a warrant when the resident inside
opened fire. The other five who were struck are hospitalized in
conditions that range from serious to critical. They were serving what
is known as a "knock and announce warrant," meaning they forcibly
entered the home after no one responded to their knock on the door.

The alleged gunman, Matthew David Stewart, was shot as well, although
he is expected to recover.

As with all such tragedies, there is pain on both sides. Stewart's
parents described him as dealing with mental-illness issues and a drug
problem. A court eventually will sort out facts and determine blame,
but it is likely no one ever will get a satisfactory answer as to why
this happened, or why a seven-year veteran of the department with a
wife and two children was taken.

"It's a very, very sad day for all," interim Chief Wayne Tarwater
said. Indeed, it is.

All the community can do right now is attempt to deal with the fact
that, once again, peace officers have been attacked in the line of
duty, and resolve to renew their admiration and support for those who
risk their lives daily on behalf of us all. In addition, people should
pray for the recovery of those who remain hospitalized.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jo-D