legislature honors Francom, wounded officers

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 11:23 AM

Loretta Park

SALT LAKE CITY — Weber County representatives and senators each took a turn to express gratitude to law enforcement officers involved in the Jan. 4 shootout in Ogden.

Legislators then gave standing ovations to the officers and their families who attended the legislative session Wednesday.

“Every day, officers across the state put on a badge, kiss their families goodbye and step between good and evil, protecting your life and mine, often at the risk of their own lives,” said Rep. Brad Dee, R-Washington Terrace.

“These folks, they train for these things, but they hope the day doesn’t come when they have to pull a weapon out,” said Sen. Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City. “But this was beyond belief, the buzz saw they walked into that day.”

Dee and Jenkins sponsored House Concurrent Resolution 4, which honors the police officers involved in the shooting that left Ogden officer Jared Francom dead and five others wounded while serving a search warrant at the home of Matthew Stewart.

The House and the Senate both unanimously passed the resolution Wednesday, while the officers, family members, co-workers and friends were in attendance. The resolution now goes to the governor.

Francom’s mother, Shelly Francom, said the presentations were “overwhelming and wonderful.”

Roy Police Officer Jason Vanderwarf said, “It’s overwhelming to feel that support, but it’s unfortunate law enforcement doesn’t get that type of support unless there’s a tragedy. But it is very much appreciated by everyone involved.”

The resolution honored Francom, Vanderwarf, Ogden officers Michael Rounkles, Kasey Burrell and Shawn Grogan and Weber County Sheriff’s Sgt. Nate Hutchinson.

Burrell was not in attendance at Wednesday’s event because of a doctor’s appointment, Dee said.

Rounkles called it “an honor” to be recognized by legislators for his actions in trying to help the other officers.

Ogden Assistant Police Chief Marcy Korgenski was one of the many officers who came to support those being honored.

“For the House of Representatives and the Senate to recognize our officers and their efforts was heartwarming and appreciated by all of us,” Korgenski said.

Rep. Ryan Wilcox, R-Ogden, met with the officers for a few minutes after the presentation. He said the resolution represents what the 30,000-plus constituents in each legislative district of Weber County wanted their representatives to do.

“We know your job is hard, and many times your efforts go unsung, but know your community loves you and supports you,” Wilcox said.

Stewart, 37, has been charged with aggravated murder in the death of Francom, as well as eight other felony counts. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

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