Thursday, February 4, 2016

Officer Doug Barney

Last month, a police officer in Holladay, Utah was murdered. His name is Officer Doug Barney. His story has been well covered in our local news media. Many people have been impacted by this tragedy. The day he died was unnerving for many of our friends and family who live in Holladay, where Andrew and I grew up, as the events unfolded in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

For my brother Mike, losing Doug has been devastating. Mike worked in the same precinct with Doug. In recent days, he has shared stories of funny things they'd do together. He has also expressed his shock and sadness over his passing. The day Doug was shot, my brother was one of two officers asked to be with his wife Erika when Doug passed away at the hospital. Mike told me he was trying hard to comfort her but instead, she was the one providing all the comfort. He also was assigned one of the shifts to stand guard, as a token of profound respect, next to Doug's body prior to his burial. Officer Barney had someone with him around the clock, day and night. It has been so touching to see and hear about the level of brotherhood that exists in the police force. It's frustrating to no end that the media doesn't focus on these everyday heroes the way that they should. Fortunately, many communities paid an incredible amount of respect to Doug Barney during the funeral procession. I think it was a great comfort to all of the officers who were able to witness it. I watched the funeral on tv and marveled at how graceful, articulate and classy Erika Barney was as she paid tribute to her husband and the men and women he worked with. I shared this photo of my brother Mike on social media and wanted to include it here. Someone took this photo of him while he watched the Police Chief present Erika Barney with the flag that draped her husband's casket.

Mike and I joke a lot. He teases me until I erupt like a volcano (I'm smiling as I type this). I don't take the chance to be serious with him often, so I'd like to now.

Mike, I am so sorry you lost your dear friend. My heart continues to ache for his family. I am sorry that it's your responsibility to take over his cases. It must be hard to listen to his voice as you listen to his recorded notes. I'm sorry that police officers don't always receive the respect they deserve. I'm sorry that you and your family have to fear the possibility of you coming in contact with unhinged bad guys.

I know that you are a bright light in your department and in the community you serve. Anyone who knows you would say that you are hilarious. I mean this with all sincerity: you are the funniest person I know. You use your humor to distill stressful situations. It's a mark of your intelligence the way you interweave witty observations into conversation. You are smart, careful and quick which is why you excel at being a detective. Like Doug Barney, you are compassionate and love your family deeply.

I told Mom on the phone that every time I saw Doug's picture on the television that I saw your face. And I would cry. I cry because it could have been you and then I cry because it was Doug. He was an amazing man with a family who loved and needed him. You are a hero everyday. I hope you'll find strength in knowing that the people who care most about you know this.


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