Tearful farewell in Millard County for slain deputy Josie Fox

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She was remembered as funny, tough and wild.

She was described as competitive, honest and as someone who told off-color jokes. And if Deputy Josie Greathouse Fox pulled you over but didn't give you a ticket, that may not have been a good thing.

Before she started work as a deputy, "She said she wouldn't give tickets to ugly people because it would be their only break in life," Sandi Greathouse Ables, Fox's sister, told more than 1,500 people who turned out to honor the slain officer.

Fox, 37, died Jan. 5 in a shooting on U.S. 50 near Delta moments after she pulled over a 1995 Cadillac DeVille. The Sheriff's Office has said Roberto Miramontes Roman shot her in the chest, just above her protective vest. Police arrested him the next day in a shed north of Beaver.

Roman has been charged with capital murder, and prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty if he is found guilty.

Outside the Delta Stake Center on Monday, the services for Fox were full of ceremony. There were hundreds of uniformed police officers, a lengthy processional and children holding American flags on the route to the cemetery.

But inside the stake center the focus was on Fox the person. Her family and bosses told stories of how a girl from Utah's west desert became a respected sheriff's deputy.

Ables told mourners how as a child, a girl on the school bus was being mean to her, so Fox grabbed the girl by the pigtails and dragged her off the bus. At school, Fox would challenge bullies and publicize the fight beforehand, Ables said.

"She did and always will protect her friends and family," she said.

Fox also was competitive, and that even extended to online shopping. Ables said her sister would get mad when other people bid against her for merchandise, and she wound up with a lot of items she didn't need, like a cotton candy maker.

She had a great sense of humor and wasn't afraid to use coarse language.

"She would say anything to make people blush, as the deputies around her could tell you," Ables said, though she refrained from giving examples.

Bishop James Burr said the newly dedicated stake center chapel was designed to hold 1,500 people, but that figure was exceeded Monday. There were more people with badges and pistols than there were average town folk. Police from across Utah as well as Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana and Nevada attended the services.

Attendees stood along the walls and in the aisles. Audio from the service was played in a few smaller rooms and at a ward house in Delta.

A foyer table displayed pictures of Fox throughout her life alongside plaques and trophies she won in motocross races. Her brown, varnished casket was closed, with a bouquet of flowers and a folded American flag on top of it.

Ed Phillips, the former Millard County sheriff who hired Fox in 2005, cried as he recalled the woman whose own mother described her as a "wild child." He told the mourners he wanted to hire a female deputy and sought out Fox.

"I knew she had a great pedigree and the spirit of a mustang," Phillips said.

But he had to wait a year to hire her because Utah's police academy does not admit cadets who have used drugs within a certain number of years.

Fox admitted she had used drugs too recently, Phillips said. But she told him if he would trust her, she would meet the requirements.

"She, like so many of us here, had something in her past she wished she could change," Phillips said.

Millard County Sheriff Robert Dekker said Fox always had a smile on her face. The five-year force veteran worked in her personal time and paid for her own uniforms even though the county could buy them, he said.

"Anytime a peace officer is gunned down, it's an attack on our society and our way of life," Dekker said. "Josie would want us to keep working."

When the services in the stake center ended, a convoy of police motorcycles and cars accompanied a hearse to Delta's city cemetery.

The procession stretched almost the entire length of town, where adults and children lined the street, creating a tunnel of large American flags. There was a two-hour delay between the ending of the church service and the start of the graveside service.

At the cemetery, uniformed personnel from the Millard County Sheriff's Office carried Fox's casket to the grave. An honor guard gave Fox a 21-gun salute, while a color guard gave the folded flag to Fox's husband, Douglas Brian Fox. Police officers from other departments could be seen and heard crying and sniffing.

In dedicating the grave, Josie Fox's uncle, George Maxwell, called his niece's resting place a site for mourners to visit "and to be comforted by the way this beautiful lady lived her life to the fullest."