A shooting review board ruled Monday that officer James Crowley was justified in using deadly force against a man who threatened him and three other officers with an ax April 16.
"The board recommended that officer Crowley be returned to duty," said Police Chief Dennis Nordfelt. "Jim will be reporting to work (Tuesday)."Crowley has been on administrative leave with pay since he fatally wounded Rick Lockyer, 37, 3381 S. Brock St., at his house after Lockyer had reportedly charged Crowley and three accompanying officers with an ax. The officers were responding to a call about a neighbor dispute between Lockyer and his next-door neighbor.
Nordfelt said the department's shooting review board determined Crowley's actions were necessary to protect himself and the other officers and were in accordance with department policies. The Salt Lake County attorney's office also investigates all on-duty shootings by police officers. Results of that investigation were delivered Monday to the office's justice division chief Bud Ellett, who said he plans to release his findings Wednesday. No further action will come from the attorney's office investigation unless its findings show the officer improperly used his weapon.
Crowley's wife, Becky, is also a West Valley police officer and will be returning to work Tuesday evening after being on leave with her husband. Nordfelt said he put her on leave with pay "because she seemed like the best source of support."
The couple spent some of the time off with two police officers from Salt Lake's trauma response team. "They came out here immediately and have been a tremendous resource," Nordfelt said. "One of officers took (the Crowleys) horseback riding - there has been a lot of support from this department and from officers and members of the community who have been concerned about his well-being in this situation."
The traumatic effects of a shooting never go away, Nordfelt said, "But when you're reinforced, it makes it easier."