Friends and family of Sergeant Derek Johnson were joined by law enforcement officers from all over the state and country for his funeral at the Maverik Center today (Friday). Johnson was killed in the line of duty on Sunday. KUER’s Nicole Nixon reports.
The service began with a bagpipe procession, followed by a Draper City color guard. Hundreds of police officers saluted as the flag-draped casket of the 32-year-old police officer was brought in. Sgt. Johnson’s wife Shante carried the couple’s six-year-old son Bensen. Speakers throughout the memorial service included Governor Gary Herbert, Draper Mayor Darrell Smith and Quorum of the Seventies Elder Mervyn B. Arnold from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Friends and family members of Johnson’s family also spoke.
Governor Herbert extended his condolences. He spoke about the sacrifice and uncertainty of public safety officers and their families.
“It’s at times like this that we take pause and we remember the lives of those who have served us so well. And Utah is taking time to take pause and to thank this wonderful family for their service and for their sacrifice," said Governor Herbert
Many speakers mentioned how Sgt. Johnson always wanted to be a police officer and loved his job. His younger sister Desirae said that he never portrayed his job as a sacrifice, and often would leave family gatherings in his uniform with a smile.
“Because of my brother’s attitude, I didn’t understand the true sacrifice that police officers make every day when you put on that uniform," said Desirae Johnson.
Sgt. Johnson’s father Randy said his family has appreciated the outpouring of love and support from the community.
“I don’t know that you can say that we’re mourning, because Derek was just too great of a guy. He loved life too much and he wouldn’t want us to feel that way," said Randy Johnson.
Johnson joined the Draper Police Department in 2004 and was promoted to Sergeant in 2012. The two people allegedly involved in the shooting that killed Johnson were identified earlier this week as 35-year-old Timothy Walker and 34-year-old Traci Vaillancourt. Both remain hospitalized.