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Utah fallen officers Johnson, Wride memorialized this Thursday

Published April 28, 2014 1:36 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

Their lives were lost to gunfire, but their names will live on, emblazoned.Draper Police Sgt. Derek Johnson and Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Cory Wride will have their names added to the Utah Fallen Officer Memorial, just west of the State Capitol, this Thursday. The ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m.

As important and poignant as it will be, another, quieter moment of significance that fewer will witness takes place the day before.

On Tuesday, members of the Salt Lake City Police Department's Explorers program (a sort of pre-police academy for teens and young adults) will receive pins signifying them as guardians of the memorial. The next afternoon, they will be charged with preparing the site for the next day's ceremony.

These young people, many of them chasing careers in law enforcement, will spend their day face-to-face with a wall of names of those who died in the line of duty; a reminder of the risk they have to accept when they graduate from guardians of the memorial to guardians of the community.

Johnson, 32, was gunned down Sept. 1 when, according to police, he stopped to investigate an oddly parked car. Police say the car's owner, Timothy Troy Walker, ambushed Johnson then turned the gun on himself and his girlfriend, Traci L. Vaillancourt.

Wride, 44, was killed Jan. 30 near Eagle Mountain. He had stopped his patrol car to check on a pickup with flashers blinking on State Road 73 when an occupant of the truck, 27-year-old Jose Angel Garcia-Jauregui, allegedly shot him to death while Wride was in his vehicle.

Johnson and Wride's names will become the 136th and 137th names added to the wall.

- Michael McFall

Twitter: @mikeypanda