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Law enforcement, family and community gather to celebrate life of Sgt. Hooser at emotional funeral

By Carlene Coombs - Daily Herald | May 13, 2024
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Utah Highway Patrol troopers stand alongside a casket carrying fallen Santaquin Police Sgt. Bill Hooser on Monday, May 13, 2024.
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Courtney Hooser speaks at the memorial services for her father, Santaquin Police Sgt. Bill Hooser, at Utah Valley University on Monday, May 13, 2024.
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Utah Highway Patrol troopers conduct a 21-gun salute during the funeral services for Santaquin Police Sgt. Bill Hooser on Monday, May 13, 2024.
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Santaquin Police Chief Rodney Hurst hands a folded flag to Kinda Hooser, wife of Sgt. Bill Hooser, during his funeral Monday, May 13, 2024. Bill Hooser was kill while on duty Sunday, May 5, 2024.
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Memorial services for Santaquin Police Sgt. Bill Hooser were held at Utah Valley University on Monday, May 13, 2024.
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A young girl holds a flag in Santaquin while awaiting the funeral procession for Sgt. Bill Hooser on Monday, May 13, 2024.

Flags lined the streets around Utah Valley University on Monday morning as the community, family members and law enforcement officers gathered for memorial services for Santaquin Police Sgt. Bill Hooser, who was killed on duty May 5.

Law enforcement officers from across Utah, and even out of state, poured into the UCCU Center to pay their respects to Hooser.

Speakers included Hooser’s daughters and members of the Santaquin police department, who tearfully shared stories of his life.

Hooser’s youngest daughter, Courtney, provided an emotional tribute for her father, tearfully reminiscing on their time together while expressing her heartbreak.

“I am completely broken,” she said. “My dad no longer gets to walk me down the aisle or share the daddy-daughter dance with me for my wedding. I will never understand why this happened nor will I ever stop mourning the loss of my father.”

She said that while many only saw her father’s law enforcement side, she saw her father “in a different fashion.”

“Always in his shorts mom would get him from Costco or Buckle, drink in hand and his white Chevy, which he only drove for special trips and camping,” she said.

Hooser’s eldest daughter, Shayle Terry, gave a eulogy for her father, speaking about his life and sharing fond memories.

“While he was a hero for the job he chose and loved to do, he was a hero to me in many different ways,” Terry said.

Hooser was born in Texas, she said, then moved to Utah when he was young and later met her mother, Kinda, and they were married in 1995.

“My dad loved being a girl dad,” she said. “He attended every dance recital, went to help pick out dresses for school dances, attended every cheerleading function. He even learned the cheers to help with crowd involvement and attended every gymnastics practice.”

Terry reflected on when she had her daughter in 2023, making Hooser a grandfather, saying his granddaughter was the “highlight of his life.”

Outside of law enforcement, Terry said Hooser loved camping, collecting whiskey, playing golf and country music.

“He lived his days creating moments that have now translated to memories for all the people whose lives he touched,” she said. “May we all strive to live our days a little more like my dad.”

Santaquin Police Lt. Mike Wall, who trained Hooser when he joined the department, said, “Bill was one of a kind” and “irreplaceable.”

Wall spoke about Hooser’s time as a training officer, saying he was “phenomenal” training new officers and ensuring they were “squared away” and would stay safe on the job.

Wall said Hooser was quickly promoted to master officer, then corporal and, finally, sergeant.

“It saddens me to know that no matter how hard I look, or how far I look, I will never be able to replace Sgt. Hooser,” Wall said emotionally. “He truly, truly was irreplaceable. … Although he was taken from us too early, he has left behind a great legacy.”

Santaquin Police Chief Rodney Hurst was the final speaker and said he was out of town the weekend Hooser was killed and knew something was “seriously wrong” when he received a call from Wall.

“I don’t remember what I said, but my mind wasn’t comprehending what Lt. Wall was telling me,” he said.

Hurst reminisced about a month earlier, when he and Hooser had gone fishing at Lake Powell, and Hooser caught a large bass.

“He was so proud of that fish that he posted on Facebook, something which I’m told he never does,” he said.

Hurst said Hooser was the best field training officer the department ever had, evidenced by the fact that Hurst required new officers to spend their last week with Hooser — even when he no longer was a training officer.

“The only thing I know for certain is that I will always be Sgt. Bill Hooser’s chief of police,” he said. “We will be forever linked by the selfless sacrifice of this fine man.”

After the memorial service, the Santaiquin Police Department led a procession from Orem to the Santaquin Cemetery, with reportedly about 750 police and first responder vehicles joining the lengthy procession, which stretched between the two cities.

Citizens and first responders lined the route on overpasses and frontage roads along Interstate 15, many with flags in hand, as the community joined together for a final farewell.

At the Santaquin Cemetery where the graveside service was held, the scene was nearly silent despite the hundreds of law enforcement officers in addition to Hooser’s family.

The Utah Highway Patrol conducted the 21-gun salute before troopers folded the flag that had draped Hooser’s casket and solemnly handed it to Hooser’s wife.

Gov. Spencer Cox, who also spoke at the funeral, held a short press conference before the memorial services, during which he spoke about the community coming together in a difficult time to support Hooser’s family and the law enforcement community.

“It’s just been remarkable to see the depth of sorrow and the height of compassion as people have all come together to help them,” he said.

Cox reflected on a phone call he had with the family shortly after Hooser was killed.

“We lost a good one, guys,” he said, tearing up. “And yet, there was so much courage and strength on that call, the resolve.”

“I hope all of us can leave better people today and more committed to finding our own calling,” Cox added.


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