OGDEN -- Solemn firefighters in turnout gear lined both sides of Washington Boulevard south of 25th Street on Wednesday afternoon and sharply saluted the casket of slain Ogden Police Officer Jared Francom as it passed, carried by an Ogden fire engine.
The procession from the site of the funeral at Weber State University's Dee Events Center to Ogden City Cemetery lasted nearly two hours and included a sea of police vehicles from Utah and nearby states.
Dozens of motorcycle officers, including those from the Provo and Tooele police departments, as well as from Twin Falls, Idaho, led the procession.
Four Ogden police officers in dress uniform served as somber sentinels and remained next to Francom's casket.
Ogden firefighters used a pair of ladder trucks to create an arch across the intersection of 25th Street and Washington Boulevard that held a massive American flag.
As the fire engine carrying Francom's casket passed under the flag, the firefighters snapped to attention.
Firefighter Targee Williams said it was difficult to put into words the magnitude of the procession or the death of Francom, who died Jan. 5 from wounds suffered the night before in a firefight with a drug suspect that left five other Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force agents wounded.
"There are no words to describe this," he said.
That feeling was shared by many along the flag-lined procession route, where mourners also clutched and waved smaller flags as a tribute to Francom. Flags also lined streets along the procession route.
Mourners wore heavy coats and wrapped themselves in blankets to fight off the shivering cold that lingered despite plenty of sunshine and clear, blue skies.
Bob Ramos, 87, an Army veteran of World War II and an Air Force veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars, staked out a spot early on Washington Boulevard near 23rd Street.
Ramos, who was wearing a khaki shirt adorned with military patches, said he never met Francom but felt a kinship with him.
"These guys (police officers) are like those in the Army," said Ramos, his voice cracking with emotion.
"They are like GIs going to the front lines, and they don't know if they are coming back."
Taleen Perkins, of Willard, said she attended the procession because of her enormous respect for police officers.
"I work at 7-Eleven on the graveyard shift, and I talk to officers at night," she said.
"It (the death of Francom) is really somber and sad."
David Boyle, of Ogden, said Francom's death has affected many residents.
"It's a bad incident that touches (people) in an emotional way."
Mary Smith, of Pleasant View, said she took her children and a nephew and niece to watch the procession to provide a valuable learning experience.
"I think kids need to see community support," she said.
Andre Erbia, of Ogden, said he was taken aback by the sheer size of the funeral procession, the massive police presence and the number of people who attended.