'True servant' was wrapping up final graveyard shift when he was shot
Friday funeral for Sgt. Derek Johnson now moved to Maverik Center
A viewing for Johnson will be held Thursday and the funeral on Friday beginning at 11 a.m. Randy Johnson said the funeral will provide an opportunity for both his son's immediate family and his law enforcement family to honor his service.
"Our desire is to have this a celebration of Derek's life, to remember the impact he's had on people," the officer's father said. "I think it's healing for all of the police officers to have an opportunity to able to hear the things that will be said, to be able to recognize there is so much good they do everyday."
Many of Derek Johnson's immediate family members are expected to speak or offer prayers at the service. The family is also hoping stories about Johnson will be left at www.mydadsahero.com.
The entire Draper Police Department has been on leave since the incident to mourn their fallen brother, with officers from other agencies handling their calls. The exception has been officers taking shifts standing watch over Shante Johnson's house until the funeral as a tribute to her husband, and officers making a traditional watch over Johnson's body until the funeral.
Derek started his career of service early, getting a job as a security officer at Classic Skating in Sandy. He also worked for a brief time as a 911 dispatcher before being hired as a police officer. Johnson spent the majority of his career with the Draper Police Department, but also worked for brief periods for the Alpine-Lone Peak Police Department and Saratoga Springs, according to his family.
During his career, he worked in everything from SWAT to K-9s to the Joint Criminal Apprehension Team to being a graffiti expert, his family said.
Police believe that after shooting Johnson while the officer was still in his patrol car, Timothy Troy Walker, 35, also shot Traci Lee Vaillancourt, 34, before turning the gun on himself. Both remained hospitalized in critical conditions Wednesday.
Not only is Johnson the first Draper officer to be killed in the line of duty, his father said even having to draw a weapon was unusual for a Draper officer. Despite the city being relatively free of most big-city problems, Johnson said, his son was always careful.
"Derek had always talked about how domestic-type disputes were always the most difficult for a police officer," he said.
Johnson deeply cared about his community, his brother recalled, and would take the time to knock on a resident's door if he spotted an open garage in an effort to prevent crimes from happening.
"He felt a very strong sense that he grew up here, he was raised here, he wanted to preserve that community," Darin Johnson said.
A memorial fund for Johnson as been set up at Wells Fargo Bank locations under the Sgt. Johnson Memorial Fund. Donations can also be made online at www.mydadsahero.com.
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