Utah's first peace officer was killed when he confronted a drunken man on Oct. 15, 1873.
Utah has lost 50 police officers in the line of duty, including that first killing in 1873. The Utah Peace Officers Association honored its dead in the rotunda of the State Capitol Tuesday afternoon. A 500-pound bronze plaque memorializing the dead officers will hang on the southwest pillar in the Capitol just above the encased U.S. Constitution.Utah was still a territory when Provo Police Chief Albert H. Bowen was shot. The assailant, Harrison Carter, had been arguing with another man in the Stubbs & Dunkley Saloon about a half hour before the shooting of Bowen. Carter went home, armed himself with a Navy revolver, then returned to the saloon. Bowen apparently arrived at the West Center Street saloon shortly thereafter, probably called to the scene after the first altercation.
Carter was reported to have had some "high words" with others in front of the drinking establishment before pulling out his revolver and firing it into the ground, swearing that no police officer could arrest him.
Bowen stepped forward and told Carter he could arrest him, and, while the chief was a few feet away, Carter pointed the revolver at the officer's head and pulled the trigger. As Bowen slumped to the ground, Carter jumped on a horse and rode out of town.
Although mortally wounded, Bowen lived three more days.
Carter was arrested exactly two months after the shooting and returned to the local justice court and was bound over for trial in 1st District Court.
The plaque unveiled Tuesday is inscribed: In honor of those peace officers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the protection of life and property for the citizens of Utah.
A bronze statuette of a little boy holding up the empty coat of a fallen peace officer is attached to the plaque.
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