OGDEN -- Interim Ogden Police Chief Wayne Tarwater said Friday he is going to use offers of outside help to give his department a much-needed break after the trauma and stress of having one of their fellow officers killed during a drug raid.
"From Sunday 6:30 a.m until 6:30 a.m. Monday, other agencies will be working the Ogden city calls and we will let the entire police department off during that time just to give the officers the opportunity to decompress, be with their family, let their families decompress, do some of those things they need to do," he said.
OPD officer Jared Francom died early Thursday of wounds he suffered Wednesday night in a shootout at 3268 Jackson Ave., when 12 members of the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force tried to serve a search warrant at that address.
Five other officers, including three more OPD officers, were wounded.
All officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave until an internal investigation is completed.
Four officers remain hospitalized at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden.
Agent Shawn Grogan, OPD, and Weber County Sheriff's Sgt. Nate Hutchinson are in fair condition, while Agent Kasey Burrell and Officer Michael Rounkles, both of the OPD, are in critical condition.
The fifth injured officer, Agent Jason Vanderwarf, of the Roy Police Department, was released Thursday from Ogden Regional Medical Center following treatment.
Losing so many officers puts a manpower strain on the OPD.
Tarwater said it could be worse, but most of the officers on leave don't normally work patrol beats so the loss to direct policing is not as bad as it sounds.
Even so, Tarwater said he started getting offers of help from other departments within hours of the raid.
He said Lt. Chris Simmons, of the Utah Highway Patrol's Ogden office, offered his help immediately, and Gov. Gary Herbert has since offered the help of the Utah Department of Public Safety.
"The Utah Chiefs Association, representing the majority of the law enforcement agencies across the state, has offered support in that regard any time we want," Tarwater said.
He said he has even received offers of help from out-of-state police agencies. "Just the amount of support we have been offered can be a little overwhelming, just trying to keep track of all of it."
New Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell issued a statement Friday expressing thanks for the huge response to the tragedy from neighboring police agencies and countless others.
"Words will fail to paint an adequate picture of the outpouring of love and support that we have received over the past few days and the gratitude that fills our hearts," he said.
"Agencies throughout Utah and neighboring states have offered to send their honor guards and patrolmen for coverage. A unique teddy bear is being made for the children of the fallen officer. Photographers have donated their talents to capture the funeral, and beautiful floral arrangements already fill the lobby of the Ogden City Police Department."
Caldwell reminded the public that they may donate funds to help the officers and their families at any Bank of Utah location, where accounts have been established in the name of each officer.
Tarwater said his force is badly in need of a break. In addition to the added work from the shooting, every officer has felt the stress of having fellow officers injured and killed.
"Everybody wants to participate and be a part of it," he said. "Let's face it, a lot of these officers have been running since it started, and eventually, they're going to run out of gas and hit a brick wall."
He would rather they not do that, he said.
He said he didn't know Friday afternoon which departments would be sending officers to patrol Ogden, but said the city would be well protected.
Officers from any agency in Utah have jurisdiction to enforce the law in Ogden.
Tarwater said he didn't know how long his own officers would be on leave. There are multiple investigations of the shooting under way, and it is a complex case with multiple officers and witnesses to interview and a complex crime scene to reconstruct.
"I can only speak to the internal investigation side of it. Our policy states that the shooting review board will complete a report to the chief within five days, and my response to the shooting review board today was that it takes what it takes because in this instance, it may take weeks."
The officers can't return to duty until that internal review board is finished, he said.
In addition, the Weber County Crime Scene Investigators have to process the scene, and the homicide task force of the Weber County Attorney's Office has to do its investigation.