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Legislature honors fallen Draper Sgt. Derek Johnson

Published February 6, 2014 12:16 pm

Law enforcement • Honor comes day after funeral for another gunned-down officer, Sgt. Cory Wride.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A day after the funeral for Utah County Sheriff Sgt. Cory Wride, the Utah Legislature honored another fallen officer: Draper Police Sgt. Derek Johnson, who was killed Sept. 1, 2013, when he pulled over to check on a stopped motorist.

Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper, expressed "deep appreciation for the sacrifice" and recalled how residents awoke that morning to the unexpected sight of law enforcement in their yards, searching for his assailants.

"Residents of Draper lined those streets as the funeral procession went down and laid him to rest," Hughes said, "and stories and acquaintances people had with him, you just regret you have those after the fact."

The citation said Johnson had the "exemplary life of a hometown hero" who aspired to be in law enforcement, and had a "life well lived."

Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry, who is a Utah Highway Patrol trooper, recounted how, as a teenager, Johnson was an alcohol buyer in sting operations he conducted.

"So I taught him to buy alcohol when he was a minor," Perry said to laughter from the House.

Johnson's wife, son and parents, as well as the extended family and law-enforcement officers, stood in the chambers of the House and Senate for a moment of silence honoring him.

Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, said Johnson was "the kind of cop who made you feel good about the ticket he was giving you. We, as a Senate, feel so indebted to him, his wife and child for his service to our community."

Lee Davidson and Robert Gehrke