Grim tally: Officers investigate 48 Utah homicides in 2010, including 11 children
4 Utah law enforcers were also killed last year
"You always want to say hopefully you won't have another one like that. But you know there's going to be. That's the real tragedy — there are men and woman working now, and they're going to be the next," Kirby said.
But law enforcers believe in what they're doing.
"They believe someone has to stand on that line between good and evil and protect the public," said Kirby. He noted there are men and women willing to "literally put themselves between danger and the public in order for the rest of us to sleep well in our beds."
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund reported a 37 percent increase in law enforcement fatalities in 2010. A total of 160 federal, state and local law enforcement officers died on the job. Fifty-nine of those officers were shot and killed, according to the memorial fund.
In Utah, the number of officers killed in the line of duty could have been higher.
On the same day Harris was shot and killed on the Utah-Arizona border, South Jordan police officer Stevan Gerber was shot in the knee by a man to whom he was trying to serve an arrest warrant, along with other members of the Joint Criminal Apprehension Team.
On Nov. 19, Park ranger Brody Young was shot in the arm, leg and stomach during a routine traffic stop. A bullet- proof vest may have saved his life.
Law enforcers also made the difficult decision several times to use deadly force to protect the public. Nine times in Utah last year, officers shot and killed in self-defense.
Salt Lake police officer Uppsen Downes shot and killed a heavily armed man in "full military-style combat attire" spotted walking near the Grand America Hotel on Aug. 27. The man fired at Downes several times with an assault rifle, wounding him. Downes took cover, and between shots, stood up and returned fire, ending the situation. Downes received several recognitions from the city and state for his actions.
On Dec. 25, South Jordan police shot and killed a heavily armed man who had already thrown multiple rifles and swords through the gate and onto the grounds of the LDS Church's Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple. The man was running toward a group of bystanders with a loaded shotgun when he was shot by police.
Ronnie Lee Gardner's execution by firing squad in June was also officially listed as a homicide on his death certificate because his death occurred at the hands of someone else. His death, however, was not included in the homicide statistics.
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