Some 200 Utah peace officers, friends and relatives gathered in the Capitol Rotunda Wednesday to honor fallen comrades and to add three more names to the Utah Peace Officers Association memorial.
The fallen officers honored were Blake V. Wright, Carlos Hall and Oscar Full-mer.Wright died last August during a wildfire near Midway, Wasatch County. The Wasatch County deputy sheriff was using a bulldozer to help contain the blaze when his equipment was overrun by the fire.
Hall died in 1965 of a massive heart attack after a skirmish with two suspects he was attempting to book at the San Juan County Jail. A San Juan County deputy sheriff, Hall completed the arrest and booking before suffering the heart attack as he returned home.
Fullmer died in 1928 while pursuing a murder suspect in a car chase. Fullmer, a Salt Lake County deputy sheriff, was pursuing the suspect up a canyon road when he lost control and his car plunged over a 400-foot cliff.
Rich Townsend, association chairman, said the inclusion of Hall and Fullmer came as part of the association's effort to research historical documents to find all former Utah peace officers deserving of inclusion on the Capitol memorial plaque.
The memorial was established in 1988 with 50 names. Another 23 names were added during ceremonies last year.
Salt Lake Police Chief Michael Chabries challenged those attending the ceremony to work hard at overcoming the "black eye" given the police profession because of the Rodney King beating incident in Los Angeles earlier this year.
Chabries said he was extremely disappointed at a news article last week concerning the 10 most respected professions. "For the first time in my memory, policemen were not on that list."
The chief blamed publicity over the King case for the drop in respect for police and said it was up to current officers to change that perception.