OGDEN — Seven police officers are returning to duty after being cleared of any wrongdoing in the Jan. 4 police raid on the Ogden home of Matthew David Stewart.
An internal investigation involving additional officers — including some who were wounded while serving a warrant at the residence — is not complete, but enough so that the seven who were called for back-up to the scene are OK to go back to work, according to Ogden Police Chief Wayne Tarwater.
"Obviously, the injured officers will be a while," he said, adding that the entire department has "stepped up and carried the work load" while several officers have been on administrative leave.
In addition to officer Jared Francom, who was fatally shot in a gunfight between members of the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force and Stewart, three other Ogden officers were shot and injured. A Roy city police officer, as well as a sergeant with the Weber County Sheriff's Office were also hit in the crossfire at 3268 Jackson Ave.
The 3 percent of Ogden's total 144 officers who have been on administrative leave were not part of the daily patrol units, Tarwater said, which has made filling in for them a little easier. The only complication has been dishing out a lot of overtime pay.
Out of the otherwise tragic event, Tarwater said one positive thing is that the department has been drawn together.
"We're a family, so to speak," he said. And through it all, other law enforcement agencies and the public have helped to boost the officers' pride about their daily turns.
"It's easy to become cynical over time and believe there are not that many people out there who like you," Tarwater said. "It was pretty obvious that we do have strong support from the community."
Some officers returned to work Wednesday, while others will start Thursday, according to individual work schedules. Tarwater did not know when the injured officers would be back to full-time work.