On May 28, 2020, the Ogden Police Department experienced its worst nightmare, the loss of 24-year-old Officer Nathan Lyday. Officer Lyday was one of our best, a fine young man and dedicated husband. A homegrown Ogdenite, Officer Lyday was everything a Chief of Police could hope for in a young officer and was exemplary in his service to his community. Murdered by an evil individual, his loss was devastating to his family and to the Ogden Police Department. It had been eight years since the murder of Ogden Police Officer Jared Francom and Officer Lyday’s murder reopened those wounds as well. The grief was overwhelming as the dark cloud of our pain enveloped us.

Yet, as with all dark clouds, there was a silver lining. In this case, it was the overwhelming support from our community, our state and our nation. Within just a few short hours, members of the community began calling, asking what they could do to help. Food started being delivered to the Francom Public Safety Building and didn’t stop for weeks. Monetary donations for Officer Lyday’s family began pouring in. Many supportive organizations began rallying resources and offering them to us in our time of need. We were emotionally overwhelmed at the outpouring of support we received from Ogden and Weber County residents, as well as from individuals and organizations around the state. I received calls from key government figures in our nation’s capital, offering their condolences and recognizing the sacrifice made by Officer Lyday.

The public turnout for memorial events was astounding. Over the course of the nine days prior to Officer Lyday’s funeral, hundreds of people daily attended the memorial police car in front of the Francom Public Safety building and left hundreds of floral arrangements and gifts. We lost track of the number of items, notes, cards and other personal memorabilia left at Officer Lyday’s car. We watched as people, who did not personally know Officer Lyday, shed tears for the loss of an Ogden Police Officer. With gratitude in our hearts, we shared their tears.

During the memorial motorcades, to and from the Medical Examiner’s Office, during the memorial tour of Ogden City and Weber County, and during the funeral procession to Officer Lyday’s final resting place, thousands of people lined the routes, waving U.S. flags and “blue line” flags, and shedding tears for our joint loss. We all grieved together.

As Chief of Police, I would like to express my gratitude and sincere appreciation for all who supported us in our time of need and joined us in mourning the death of Officer Nathan Lyday. There are far too many organizations and individuals to name. In the current political environment and with all the negativity being directed at police, it is easy for us in law enforcement to forget that we have the overwhelming support of the vast majority of our community members. Literally, thousands of you reminded us that you have our backs and that you appreciate our efforts. The outpouring of love and support during this extreme loss to our department and our community reminded us of who, and why, we serve. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Steven “Randy” Watt serves as chief of police for the Ogden Police Department.

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