Police from across the country, neighbors offer comfort and support at slain officer's viewing
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
WEST VALLEY CITY — From members of the New York City Police Department to folks from the neighborhood, hundreds of people came together Sunday evening to offer their condolences and support to the family of slain Unified Police officer Doug Barney.
Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder said the viewing was yet another event this past week that has embraced Barney's immediate family as well as the law enforcement community.
"Watching our community come together as it has been something I will never forget and will absolutely put an exclamation point on my 32-year career.
"I'm devastated at the lost of my friend, and I'm absolutely honored to be a member of the community," Winder said.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint's Salt Lake Utah Hunter West Stake Center, where Barney's viewing was held, was ringed by American flags and blue ribbons tied to trees and street signs. Inside, large floral displays, some arranged in the shape of police badges and department emblems, filled the stake center.
As mourners waited in line, family photographs, including Doug and Erika Barney's wedding photos, were projected on a screen. The Barneys were married nearly 20 years and have three teenage children, Matti, Merri and Jack.
Barney, an 18-year veteran of the Unified Police Department and a cancer survivor, was working an overtime shift the morning of Sunday, Jan. 17, to help pay for medical expenses. He was shot and killed while checking on a man who had left the scene of a traffic accident in Holladay.
His partner, Jon Richey, was shot in the legs. He was released from the hospital midweek, and he attended a community candlelight vigil held Wednesday in Holladay to honor both officers.
Winder said the week since Barney's slaying has been an emotional ride for the Barneys and Unified officers. It started with shock and unspeakable grief a week ago to the comfort and support extended by the larger community at the candlelight vigil and the hundreds who attended Jack's youth hockey game Saturday.
"One in a minute can be literally unable to speak with grief and then one will see this kind of situation and it almost gives one a sense of joy," Winder said.
He said the Barney family had been buoyed by their deep faith.
"I look into Erika Barney's eyes, and I absolutely know that she is convinced that her faith is going to carry she and her family through this. That's something that not all of us have. Those of us that do, I envy, because some people talk and some people walk, and Erika Barney is very much walking the walk. I'm very impressed and amazed by her," he said.
Kae Hawkes, who lives in the Barneys' neighborhood, said she attended the viewing to offer her love and comfort to his family.
The viewing and other events this past week "have been a wonderful support. It's ongoing, not just for today. It's ongoing," she said.
Freddy Broos and his wife, Melanie, said they came to the viewing to pay their respects to Barney's family. Their daughter, Unified officer Tiana Broos Hunter, is Barney's partner. She is serving on the honor guard for Barney's services, Melanie Broos said.
The community's outpouring has been "amazing," she said.
"I wish more people would come out and pay their respects, though. It's probably because a football game is on. It's unfortunate," Freddy Broos said.
Funeral services for officer Barney will be held at 11 a.m. today at the Maverik Center, 3200 Decker Lake Drive in West Valley City, followed by interment at the Orem City Cemetery.
Winder said officers from numerous area law enforcement agencies have volunteered to cover Unified officers' shifts so as many as possible can attend Barney's funeral services.
As public events to honor Barney and his service come to a conclusion Monday, Winder said he hopes the "people begin to focus less on the events of last Sunday and more on the idea that law enforcement has its problems, but it certainly is an important institution in our society.
"Policemen need to be not viewed as a person in uniform but a human with soul and a heart and a family and all that. When we do that, a lot of these tensions in our community I think, will begin to ebb."
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