WEST VALLEY CITY – Thousands of law enforcement personnel, friends and family members gathered at the Maverik Center to offer their solidarity and support at the funeral of Officer Douglas Scott Barney who was killed in active duty on Sunday, Jan. 17.
Barney was killed in a shootout in Holladay after he and his partner Officer John Richey responded to a report of a traffic accident. Barney, 44, was the father of three, a cancer survivor, and had served in law enforcement for over 18 years. He was assigned to the Unified Police Department’s precinct.
At the morning service, Barney’s brother, Brian, gave the eulogy on behalf of his fallen friend and brother.
Brian Barney spoke of the “strong powers of persuasion” that his brother Doug possessed and the ease that he gave to others regardless of their circumstances, “He was extremely good at making everyone feel at ease even if they were on their way to jail.”
Gov. Gary Herbert, R-Utah, offered his condolences to the Barney family at the service.
“On behalf of the people of Utah — 3 million strong — we recognize the service and the sacrifice of Officer Barney,” Herbert said. “I believe that Officer Barney represents the best, and what our law enforcement people have to offer. They are the heart and soul of what makes this a great state.”
Herbert spoke of trials and tribulations that are often encountered in life, quoting the Book of Mormon in Mosiah, “that we are willing to mourn with those that mourn, and stand with those in need of comfort.” Herbert expressed his belief in the scriptures as a “man of faith.”
Doug Barney’s lifelong friend Chris Bertram shared stories that painted the character of Officer Barney with “his “distinctive voice,” signature laugh” and his coined phrase, “what’s up my brotha?” He spoke of the sense of humor he possessed that helped, “keep the pains” of his profession at bay, and his service that he gave to “the citizens of this state with compassion and with love.” Bertram described Doug Barney as a friend to all.
“All of you here prove that Doug was a best friend to everyone,” Bertram said.
Salt Lake County Sheriff James M. Winder gave an animated account of Doug Barney’s personality describing him as a “six foot five tower of a man” with “twinkling eyes,” and an infectious enthusiasm for life. Winder spoke of his friendship toward everyone, even individuals he had just met.
“He could and would strike up conversations with just about anybody, and usually within minutes of that first encounter, he and the individual he had just met would seem as if they had known one another for years.”
Winder expressed stories about Doug Barney that manifested the optimistic demeanor that he possessed.
“The point of these stories, which I am sure many of you are by now wondering, is that Doug Barney could and often would through his humor, his caring, his compassion and good old fashioned Barney, turned every situation he found himself into from disaster to opportunity,” Winder said.
Doug Barney’s widow, Erika Barney, thanked the thousands of individuals that attended the funeral to offer their support and condolences. She mentioned her husband’s frequent viewing of the Officer’s Down Memorial Page. Erika Barney described how it took her 18 years as an officer’s wife and two and a half years of service as a law enforcement official for her to understand why her husband did this.
“I understand why you look at the Officer Down Memorial Page before you strap on your vest and call on duty. It’s because you need to accept the cost in order to be able to serve. And that commitment isn’t made just once but over and over and over again,” Erika Barney said.
Elder Mervyn B. Arnold, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, concluded the funeral: “In the face of tragedy we must put our trust in God.” Elder Arnold described families as eternal with the duty to carry on when loved ones are taken from us.
“We will always miss those that are taken from us,” Elder Arnold said.
Barney was buried in the Orem Cemetery after the cortege of hundreds of police vehicles shut down traffic along busy State Street.