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Ogden public safety building renamed for fallen officer

Published January 5, 2013 11:01 am

The ceremony marks first anniversary of Jared Francom's death.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Ogden • On the one-year anniversary of his death, Jared Francom's family stood in front of Ogden's public safety building where the 30-year-old man was sworn in as an Ogden police officer on Feb. 7, 2005.

He loved being a police officer, his parents, Jade and Shelly Francom, said Friday.

So it was only fitting that the building be renamed after Francom, who died while on duty the night of Jan. 4, 2012, when the execution of a search warrant turned into a chaotic shoot-out at an Ogden home.

The building was renamed the Francom Public Safety Center during a ceremony on Friday. In attendance were Francom's family, including his wife, Erin Francom, and his two daughters, along with members of the public and other police officers and their families.

"It's just wonderful," Shelly Francom said after the short ceremony. "It's a good thing that helps make a bad memory good."

Erin Francom addressed the crowd briefly, expressing gratitude to the police department for renaming the building in her husband's honor.

"Jared died doing a job he loved," she said. "A job he did well."

Though Friday marked a day where they felt honored and grateful for the building renaming, Jade Francom said the day was also difficult for their family.

"The missing him part, it never goes away," the father said. "It gets stronger every day … [but] we know he's in a better place."

Francom, 30, was shot and killed while members of the Weber Morgan Narcotics Strike Force were serving a search warrant at an Ogden home. Five other agents were also injured. The alleged shooter, Matthew David Stewart, 38, also was injured in the shootout.

Ogden Police Chief Mike Ashment said after the ceremony that his feelings on the one-year anniversary could be summed up in one word: Proud.

"Proud of Jared," Ashment said. "What he did for the department. Proud of the fact that we were able to carry his memory forward."

Ashment described Francom as a "big teddy bear" — an officer who was full of life, and loved his job.

The chief called the deadly shootout "the most horrific event in the history of Ogden Police," and said it has had an effect on the police department.

Though the policy was already in the works at the time of the shootout, Ashment said it has now become Ogden police policy that all officers must wear ballistic vests while on duty.

During testimony at a preliminary hearing for Stewart, two of the law enforcement personnel who served a warrant that night said they were not wearing a vest during the search warrant, either because of injury or a broken strap on the vest.

It is still unclear whether Francom was wearing a protective vest, and Ashment declined to comment Friday about the matter.

Ashment said the shootout has also changed the way that the department looks at how they do their job, and has brought home the reality of the inherent risks.

Ashment added that he was personally affected while attending Francom's funeral procession a year ago to see thousands of residents line the Ogden streets to honor the officer.

"That was touching," he said, his eyes brimming with tears.

Stewart is charged in 2nd District Court with aggravated murder for Francom's death, seven first-degree felony counts of attempted aggravated murder for allegedly trying to kill the other officers, and one second-degree felony count related to alleged marijuana cultivation.

Prosecutors have said they plan to pursue the death penalty for Stewart in connection with Francom's slaying.

Stewart has pleaded not guilty to all counts. No trial dates have been set.

jmiller@sltrib.com —

Stewart's family holds vigil

The family of Matthew David Stewart, accused in the killing of a police officer, holds a vigil on the anniversary of the shootout. › B2






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