WEST VALLEY CITY — A year after Cody Brotherson died in the line of duty, family members and fellow officers say his death continues to feel raw.
"Each day is still a challenge to try and accept that he is gone," his mother Jenny Brotherson said as she fought tears.
She joined Brotherson's colleagues, city officials and over 100 others at a memorial service for her son outside West Valley City's police station on Monday night to mark the anniversary of his death.
Brotherson's slaying has shed a new light on a profession that has come under a harsh spotlight in recent years, showing the civilian world just how dangerous a career in law enforcement can be, said West Valley Police Sgt. Jake Hill, Brotherson's beat partner.
Brotherson, 25, was hit and killed last year by three teens fleeing West Valley police in a stolen car. The crash happened near the intersection of 4100 South and 2200 West when he was setting spike strips to stop the car.
On Monday, officials announced that a stretch of 4100 South from 2200 West to 3600 West has been renamed the Cody Brotherson Parkway. Applause broke out when City Councilman Don Christensen handed Jenny Brotherson a black street sign bearing her son's name.
Addressing Cody, she said he was "born a hero. And I will forever miss what you brought to our family."
She recalled her first-born son as mentor and confidant to his younger brothers. He bragged about his recipe for cream of chicken soup, was loyal to friends and didn't have patience for fake people, she said, before sitting down to join her husband and weep.
Police work in his hometown "was his dream job," she said, but he moved outside of West Valley nearly a year before his death because he didn't care to keep running into people at the grocery store after he had arrested them the night before.
In July, a judge directed Utah's Juvenile Justice Services to keep the teens involved in the crash in custody as long as possible. The brothers age 14 and 15, and a friend, now 16, pleaded guilty in juvenile court to charges related to Brotherson's death.1 comment on this story
At least one officer saw the teens' vehicle swerve toward Brotherson, likely killing him on impact, police said after the crash. Hill said the horror of that day continues to haunt the force but doesn't deter officers from putting on their uniforms each day.
His voice wavered as he recalled eating breakfast burritos with his beat partner off of the hood of Brotherson's patrol car, and when he said his partner's badge number, 844, would never be worn again.
"We now have the honor of carrying his legacy," Hill said.