Slain Ogden officer Jared Francom remembered as devoted father, football fan, adrenaline junkie

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 11 2012 9:00 a.m. MST

Both friends and co-workers recalled several of Francom's many humorous moments, such as the time when he was driving to work on his first day with the Ogden Police Department and was pulled over by his boss for speeding.

They recalled that when he was trying to grow his hair long for the drug strike force, he earned the nickname "Peppermint Patty."

Being a police officer was something Francom wanted to do since he was a young boy. Many talked about his "incredible work ethic."

"He wouldn't quit until the job was done," said brother Ben Francom.

Officer Troy Burnett, a member of the strike force, recalled his first experience with Francom. The two were to meet for a domestic violence call. Francom hit black ice and severely damaged his police car on the way to meet Burnett. But even with the hood bent and a wheel "barely hanging on," Francom arrived on time as backup.

"Jared said, 'Sarge, when I heard your arrival on scene, I just couldn't stand the thought of you waiting for me.' That's who Jared was. He'd never let an officer down," Burnett said.

Ogden police officer Shane Keyes recalled the first time Francom took a night off from work. He said Francom constantly sent him text messages that night wondering if anything was happening and asking if he should be anywhere to help.

Keyes was one of many who also spoke of Francom's devotion to his family. He recalled how every night, even when the strike force was out, he'd call to check up on "his girls."

LDS Bishop Troy Combs fought back tears as he spoke Wednesday. As much as others said he loved his job, the bishop said Francom's biggest love was for his wife and children.

"There was nothing more that meant anything else in this world than his family," he said. "Every time i talked to him, he talked about Erin, and he talked about Samantha and Hailey.

Bishop Combs recalled how Francom was his daughter's LDS primary teacher. With Francom's long hair, he said it was like she was being taught by Jesus.

"Death comes to us all eventually. That's the one thing we can't avoid in this life. It's tragic the way some deaths occur. Jared's was a tragic death. He was murdered in the line of duty. But he did it serving and protecting," Bishop Combs said.

He shared a story from Tuesday night's viewing in which he was speaking to Francom's grandmother and told her there would be times when she would feel her grandson's presence. She said she already had experienced that.

"She heard as clear as day, 'Hey Gram, it will be all right, and I will be waiting for you,'" the bishop said.

Francom's casket, draped with an American flag, was wheeled into the ceremony by six uniformed officers of the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force.

His wife carried one of their daughters into the arena, with pink ribbons in her hair, and another woman carried the other daughter.

Gov. Gary Herbert attended the ceremony as well as Sen. Mike Lee, Rep. Rob Bishop, members of the U.S. Attorney's Office, and several sheriffs and police chiefs including Kane County Sheriff Lamont Smith and Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder.

"There are no words to describe what my family and I have felt over the last seven days," brother Travis Francom said of the support his family had received.

Officers from across Utah and the western United States began arriving at the Dee Events Center as early as 7 a.m. Members of local Boy Scout troops were up just as early setting up thousands of American flags along the procession route.

Interim Ogden Police Chief Wayne Tarwater said it was an overwhelming show of support.

"It's a start to healing," he said. "My primary emotions are with officer Francom and his family."

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