Draper Detective Jaclyn Moore, who attended police academy with Johnson recalled seeing him light up as he walked into class.
"You could tell that he just wanted to be a police officer," Moore said.
She said Johnson was a committed sergeant who brought joy to his job.
"He would sing this Kermit The Frog song. In Kermit's voice. In uniform. In public," Moore said. "It was so embarrassing."
Rather than stoic, patriotic music, American Idol contestant Kenz Hall sang "Fields of Gold" by Sting, and a children's choir from the Johnsons' church performed the sergeant's beloved Kermit song, "Rainbow Connection."
Johnson's father, Randy Johnson, thanked Draper residents for their condolences and outreach since his son's death.
"He left something for each of us to take into our lives," Randy Johnson said. "We had an opportunity as a community to decide who we are."
The criminal proceedings stemming from Johnson's death ended in July when Walker pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and was sentenced to life in prison. Meanwhile, Johnson was honored on memorials in Utah and Washington, D.C., and Draper Mayor Troy Walker no relation to the shooter proclaimed Sept. 1 to be an official day of remembrance for Johnson.
Draper police Chief Bryan Roberts choked back tears as a helicopter flew over the ceremony.
"Sometimes it feels like it was yesterday, other times it feels like a lifetime ago," Roberts said.
Shante Johnson recalled watching her childhood sweetheart become a husband, a police officer and a father pitching a tent in the backyard to camp out with his son Benson, now 7.
"Derek loved his little boy and and he loved me, and we will miss you Derek, forever and always," she said.