(Adam) Thanks for tuning into KSL Outdoors, I’m Adam Eakle and welcome to Wyoming where we have a really special show for you tonight. It’s about officers that have injured in the line of duty and the sportsmen that stepping up to help them. Our story actually begins back in January in Ogden.
It’s a scene many of us remember from January 4th.
Six police officers attempting to serve a “knock and announce” search warrant are struck by gunfire when they entered the Ogden home of Matthew Stewart. In the barrage, 30 year old, special Agent Jared Francom of the Weber/Morgan strike force is shot and killed.
(Kasey Burrell, Detective Ogden Gang Unit) We both are kind of rookie patrol officers. So I knew him real well.
(Kasey Burrell) I sometimes forget about it, go to the PD and I’ll see a picture of him and then I remember it.
(jason Vanderwarf, Weber/Morgan Strike Force) Nobody wants to deal with that type of violence like that.
(Shawn Grogan, Weber/Morgan Strike Force) Since that Jan 4th incident, it’s just been amazing how much community support has come out. It’s overwhelming really.
(Jason Vanderwarf) We would have never thought that something like this would have ever taken place as a result of an incident of this magnitude.
(Jennifer Chavez, Co-Chair Golden Spike Chapter of RMEF) I have very close friends that are on the police force and it kind of hit home.
Jen is part of the Golden Spike Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. They, along with some waterfowl hunters from northern Utah put together an early season Wyoming goose hunt to show the officers that were wounded that they appreciated their service to their community.
(Adam) RMEF set up a lot of this, but a lot of people stepped up to help you guys.
(Adam) We’ve got a case of three inch shells, use them wisely. Let me grab some more. Sportsman’s warehouse stepped up to. Gave you guys some sweatshirts, hats, gun cleaning kits.
Hevi Shot made sure the officers had enough shells for the hunt.
(Adam) so here lets try some of them on and make sure we’ve got the right sizes.
Sportsman’s Warehouse made sure they would be warm, Ed Kenley Ford gave them five hundred bucks towards the out of state licenses and cross canyon arms donated a brand new shotgun that one of the officers was allowed to keep.
(Nate Hutchinson, Weber/Morgan Strike Force) I do enjoy hunting, big game and pheasants, but never have shot a goose so this should be pretty fun.
(Michael Rounkles, Ogden City PD) Never hunted anything. (adam) anything? (mike) no (adam) what’s your expectation? (mike) low, i’m going to try and hit at least one.
(mike) should we head down. (adam) Lets go.
Early the next morning, Mike Jensen a Northern Utah Waterfowler has got the guys hunting a piece of family property.
(Mike Jensen, Northern Utah Waterfowler) in the middle we are going to have Ben and he’s going to be the one sweet calling the geese and I’ll be the one watching calling the shots.
(Adam) a guy wakes up early to put his makeup on, look at that. (ben) dang right only for geese.
(Mike) when the geese come in, I’ll try to make sure when I call the shot that they are in front of everybody so everybody gets a good shot.
A beautiful sunrise greeted the officers as their hunt is finally underway.
(Jason) we were sitting out there this morning, kind of get into a daze and all of a sudden it’s like here they come boys.
15 honkers have seen the spread and are headed our way. The boys are hunkered down and ready to go.
Two honkers have landed, the others aren’t quite convinced.
(Mike) You and Nate pop up and see if they are still there.
(Jason) It was really incredible. We weren’t able to get a clear shot but to hear and see them flying around and these guys that are working the calls on them was just incredible how they can bring them right in.
(Tag) well the morning wasn’t too bad, we did get some shooting, now it’s time for lunch. Brandi and Jen cooking something up, what are we cooking here? I saw you throw coke in this chicken. (jen) shh, I don’t know. (adam) is that a secret coke? (jen) I don’t know. (adam) we are just throwing anything and everything here on the dutch oven Camp Chef stoves. More on the officers hunt in Wyoming, but first tonights quiz question.
(Michael Rounkels, Ogden City Police Officer) First round caught me through the mouth, directly straight in, broke out some teeth.
(Kasey Burrell) When I was shot, hit right there and came out here. Just damaged my skull.
(Michael Rounkels) the other one got me in the forearm, shattered my radius and broke my humerus.
(Kasey Burrell) I actually thought I was highly trained and I got shot and I never even saw the guy so. It was just one of them things. If god wants me off this Earth, then he’ll take me off.
(Adam) what is it about it that drives guys like you to become a police officer and say this is what I want to do? (jason) you know it’s one of those jobs, it’s cliche, it’s just everyday is something different.
(Nate Hutchinson) I was one of those kids that knew i wanted to be a cop since I was a little kid.
(Shawn Grogan, Weber/Morgan Strike Force) You try to find something that you enjoy and I like the thrill of it, it’s different everyday, you get to work with the community. It’s just a joy. I’ve been doing it for 15 years now and I still enjoy it.
(adam) nothing has changed since Jan, you want to continue doing it? (sean) absolutely, same position, same job. The opportunity to work with these same guys is absolutely great.
The emotional and physical scars for these guys are still healing. They’ve all returned to work, Kasey just went back full time two weeks ago. I found these guys to be a really close knit group of not only officers, but friends. And outing like this they say only make them closer.
(Nate Hutchinson) We’re a small unit as it is and we are all really close and tight as it is. It’s just another excuse to spend time together.
(Michael Rounkles) our bond is already so tight, but every activity is just that much more. Even if we split to the four corners of the Earth and didn’t see each other for ten years, it would still be there.
The hunting this Labor Day weekend turned out to be a bit tough. The birds flew for short period in the morning and evening and that was about it. I had to pack up and head off to another story, while I was away, the boys were finally able to down a goose. No doubt some of these guys have a new appreciation for goose hunting. If anything they learned that people still care about the officers serving their community.
(Michael Rounkles) It was over-whelming just to see how the community pulled together and cared I guess. Cause you kind of loose track that they do. But the majority actually do.
(Mike Jensen, Northern Utah Waterfowler) it’s a really good opportunity, a chance for us to give back. A lot of people take for granted just the freedoms we have and the guys that protect it. Not just the people serving overseas but the people serving right here in our community.
(Tag) well these early season goose hunts you just never know what you are going to get. Last year we went up to Idaho, lights out, forty geese for ten guys in about an hour and a half. But for the officers, it’s been pretty tough here in Wyoming. I think however they’re really appreciative, everyone I talked to couldn’t be more thankful for what everybody, the community has done to recognize everything that they do for us. Time now to turn it over to the guys back in Salt Lake City, tonights fishing report, lets head back to Fish Tech.”