Roy police officer cleared to return to work following Ogden shootout

Published: Friday, Feb. 3 2012 8:03 p.m. MST

ROY — One of the officers wounded in a doomed police raid last month in Ogden has been cleared to return to duty.

Jason Vanderwarf is expected to report to work on Monday, Roy Police Chief Greg Whinham confirmed on Friday.

Vanderwarf was shot in his lower right hip in a shootout that left Ogden Police Officer Jared Francom dead. Kasey Burrell, Michael Rounkles and Shawn Grogan were also wounded, along with Weber County Sheriff's Sgt. Nate Hutchinson. The other wounded officers have yet to return to work, though seven Ogden officers who played roles in the Jan. 4 Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force raid are now back on duty.

The officers arrived at the home of Matthew David Stewart that night to serve a search warrant as police had received information that Stewart was growing marijuana. After announcing their presence, they were able to clear the main floor and basement of the home before Stewart emerged and allegedly opened fire.

Investigators later found a marijuana grow operation in the basement, including artificial lighting and a water system.

Stewart, 37, had told a friend that if police officers ever tried to stop his marijuana cultivation, he'd "go out in a blaze of glory and shoot to kill," according to an arrest warrant filed in 2nd District Court.

Stewart has since been charged with aggravated murder, a capital offense; seven counts of attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony; and production of a controlled substance, a second-degree felony. Prosecutors also filed a dangerous weapon penalty enhancement charge.

For the officers returning to duty, it can be a physical and psychological healing process, which includes consultations with therapists.

Dr. Rene Valles, a psychiatrist with Valley Mental Health, said police officers often have to be approached differently in consultations. They're more prone to look through people, and they require a more direct engagement, Valles said.

"Very straight and to the point and leaving out any medical jargon or psycho babble," Valles said. "They need to realize that they are human — that they suffer just like everybody else, that they could struggle with depression or anxiety."

It is also helpful, Valles said, to gain insight from friends and family of the affected person.

"To see how they're sleeping, to see if they're acting more irritable, to see if they're still doing some of the things that they once enjoyed," Valles said.

Valles said recovery time varies from person to person and can depend on what "pre-morbid" conditions existed — other experiences with shootings, family deaths or other traumatic experiences.

Talking about the ordeal itself is the primary focus of treatment, Valles said, and discussions can happen in a one-on-one or group setting with other victims — depending on the preference of the patient.

E-mail: aadams@ksl.com

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