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West Valley City • Standing outside a Mormon meetinghouse lined with U.S. flags and filled with officers and their families, Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder said that Unified Police Officer Doug Barney's death was "not for nothing."
Barney was shot Jan. 17 in a confrontation with Cory Lee Henderson, a fugitive parolee who was fleeing the scene of a traffic accident in Holladay. Henderson later was killed in a shootout with officers, according to police.
On Sunday evening, Winder joined throngs of friends, family and officers from Utah and across the nation for Barney's viewing at a West Valley City LDS stake center.
"I am devastated at the loss of my friend, and I am absolutely honored to be a member of this community," Winder said, the last daylight fading. "And it proves that Doug's loss is not for nothing. Quite the contrary. It really was for the support of our community."
Before stepping outside to speak to reporters, Winder had met officers inside the church from New York City and Chicago. Retired out-of-state officers had flown in to pay their respects, as well. All of that, Winder said, is "doing amazing things" for Barney's department and his loved ones.
One show of support that impressed the sheriff was when hundreds of officers watched Jack Barney, the slain officer's son, play his hockey game Saturday.
"It almost felt like it was a movie," Winder said. "It was just incredible, the sense of community."
The sheriff said he never will forget when Jack walked into the hospital the day his father died. He looked at Jack and thought healing would take the boy years "if ever."
But the events of the past week, "not the least of which that hockey game, have caused [Jack] to regain his equilibrium," Winder said. "He is on the path to recovery in large part because of that."
Remembrances will continue at 11 a.m. Monday with Barney's funeral, which is expected to draw about 10,000 people to the Maverik Center, 3200 Decker Lake Drive, West Valley City. Interment will be at the Orem City Cemetery.
Winder said he could only imagine what Barney, who "managed his job through humor," would make of the ceremony.
"He was the guy we all knew, when things got tense, he could joke long enough with someone to resolve the situation," Winder said. "I was hearing a story just the other day about a DUI that Doug was on with a female arrestee and she was very vulgar, very out of control and very problematic. Doug continuously joked with her to the point where the situation was completely resolved and they ended up being the best of friends."
The sheriff hopes, too, that people see other officers as people with "a soul, a heart, a family." He acknowledged law enforcement's "very tenuous time" right now, adding that "it's not fair for me to ever look at somebody based on my preconceived ideas, and I hope that no one looks at us that way. So maybe, again, this will be a silver lining."
Barney's death comes at a time when police in Utah and nationwide are drawing increased scrutiny for their use of force in a number of controversial encounters.
Barney is survived by a wife and three children.