There were many poignant moments at the annual memorial service for fallen police officers Thursday, but one was particularly memorable: Young Dallen Hardy, grandson of corrections officer Stephen Anderson who was shot to death last year, led an overflow crowd in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
The memorial packed the rotunda of the state Capitol as uniform-clad police officers, their relatives and many civilians gathered to honor the lives and the untimely deaths of law enforcement men and woman who were killed in the line of duty.
"I am grateful to Steve," said Thomas Patterson, director of the Utah Department of Corrections. "He left us with a bit of a sermon, not with words, but with his actions."
Patterson suggested anyone could measure Anderson's character by the fact that he treated the people he worked with kindly, he did not define himself by his job alone, and perhaps most importantly, by simply looking at the fine family he created with his wife, Millie.
Anderson's wife, their five children and grandchildren placed a rose in a memorial wreath and accepted a posthumously awarded Purple Heart for Anderson's service.
Prosecutors say Anderson was fatally shot June 25, 2007, while he was guarding a white supremacist he had transported from the Utah State Prison to a Salt Lake City hospital for medical tests. That man is now facing a capital murder charge.
The Utah Peace Officers Association sponsored the annual service, which to date has honored a total of 125 men and one woman who were killed in Utah while on duty in law enforcement. A new monument will be built outside the newly renovated Capitol and is due to be dedicated Sept. 6.
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said the memorial's motto will be, "All Give Some, Some Give All."
"The greatest honor of my life is to say I was associated with the men and women of law enforcement of this state," Shurtleff said.
"Sgt. Anderson gave his all, but it's not just Sgt. Anderson it's you," Shurtleff said, gesturing toward the audience filled with police officers, sheriff's deputies, Highway Patrol troopers and others in law enforcement.
Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank said that nationally, last year was one of the deadliest for police in a decade, with the exception of Sept. 11, 2001.
"We in a free society accept some risk and, in doing that, sometimes bad things happen to good people," he said. "Forty-one states had officer fatalities last year."
Burbank said studies of officers who have been killed almost always describe them the same way: friendly, hard-working, service-oriented and inclined to see force as a last resort. "These are the exact types of people we're looking for people with strength of character who can deal fairly with the public."
The event also recognized other fallen on-duty police officers who were slain in Utah and have been overlooked in the past:
• Ranger Michael A. Bealieu (died 1996) of the National Parks Division
• Agent Steven W. Harton (1990) of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
• Deputy Carlos T. Hall (1965) of the San Juan County Sheriff's Office
• Trooper Wesley Rosette (1951) of the Colorado State Patrol (killed here while handling a prisoner transport)
• Officer Thomas Nalley (1902) of the Scofield Police Department• Officer Daniel Mahoney (1883) of the Frisco Police Department