On the Site:

LOCAL NEWS

Sandy City Mourns Unexpected Death Of Police Chief Bill O’Neal

Jan 13, 2020, 6:12 PM | Updated: 7:19 pm

SANDY, Utah – Sandy City was mourning the passing of Police Chief Bill O’Neal, who died unexpectedly Sunday afternoon.

The Utah Fraternal Order of Police reported 48-year-old O’Neal had died from a heart attack.

Flags flew all around Sandy City Hall on Monday and the police department in memory of O’Neal.

His closest friends said his legacy will live on for a long time to come.

“You don’t see cops cry a lot, but there were a lot of tears today,” said Sergeant Jason Nielsen with the Sandy City Police Department.

Nielsen said O’Neal was the type of guy everybody respected and maybe, more importantly, the type of guy everybody liked.

“If I were to go into the fires of hell I would follow him because I know he would bring me back,” said Nielsen.

This year would have marked O’Neal’s 25th year with the Sandy City Police Department.

He rose through the ranks from officer to sergeant, captain, and later, deputy chief, before becoming chief in 2018.

“He’s an icon of the police department,” Nielsen said.

Troy Rasmussen worked alongside O’Neal for 14 years. The two have been good friends for 25 years.

“I would just call him for advice,” Rasmussen said. “He was just that type of friend. Always there to lend an ear. Yeah, he’ll be missed.”

Rasmussen said O’Neal’s first priority was his family, especially his three children.

His profession was a close second.

“I think his compassion and his instant likability made him a great chief,” Rasmussen said. “He just would connect with people whether it was somebody he just met or a good friend, he would just connect.”

Rasmussen and O’Neal were two of the officers who found Elizabeth Smart in 2003 while she was walking along State Street with her captors.

“It’s always a big day when you save somebody’s life,” Rasmussen said.

Elizabeth’s rescue stuck with O’Neal from that moment on.

“Being able to rescue her was a monumental thing in our careers,” O’Neal said during an interview in 2013. “When she was talking I could see her teeth and from the fliers and the smile, I recognized her teeth. I know that sounds strange and that’s when it hit me. Wow, this is Elizabeth Smart.”

Elizabeth Smart released this statement about O’Neal, saying:

“I am profoundly grateful for the courage and bravery of the law enforcement officers, especially Chief Bill O’Neal, who responded to the call and helped rescue me almost 17 years ago. Chief O’Neal was a leader who provided tremendous service to our community for nearly 25 years. I express my deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.”

Deputy Chief Greg Severson will act as interim chief.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

(Mark Wetzel, KSL TV)...

Alex Cabrero

Well known lemonade stand family involved in accident after dropping off donation

A family, who donates money made from a lemonade stand to help with organ donations, was recently in a car crash after dropping off a donation. While the family plans to continue donating money, they now find themselves in need of a new vehicle.

18 minutes ago

FILE - Simone Biles and the U.S. women celebrate as the 2024 team is named at the United States Gym...

Mary Culbertson

How you can get in on the 2034 Olympic announcement party

A highly anticipated announcement will be made on July 24 by the IOC which will designate the official destination of the 2034 Winter Games.

1 hour ago

...

Casey Scott

Casey Scott surprises Utah County drivers with gas cards and bro hugs

It's Wednesday, which means Casey Scott was surprising a few lucky Utah drivers with free $50 gas cards, prize packs from Sinclair Oil, and bro hugs.

2 hours ago

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill holds a press conference April 24, 2023. On Wednesday, ...

Pat Reavy, KSL.com

3 Unified police officers found justified in killing man during Kearns shootout

Three Unified police officers were legally justified when they shot and killed a man in a shootout while responding to a domestic violence call.

5 hours ago

18-year-old Odalis Rendon-Arellano was hospitalized after being hit by a car while walking home Sat...

Debbie Worthen

Hit-and-run lands teen in hospital, Sandy police searching for driver

A teenager is fighting for her life after she was hit by a car Saturday night while walking home from work.

6 hours ago

Isabelle Ramos, a UVU graduate battling cancer, decided to donate a Squishmallow collection to Prim...

Tamara Vaifanua

UVU grad with cancer supporting Primary Children’s Hospital

A Utah Valley University graduate battling cancer is providing patients at Primary Children’s Hospital with some comfort.

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

young male technician is repairing a printer at office...

Les Olson

Unraveling the dilemma between leasing and buying office technology

Carefully weigh these pros and cons to make an informed decision that best suits your business growth and day-to-day operation. 

A kitchen in a modern farmhouse....

Lighting Design

A room-by-room lighting guide for your home

Bookmark this room-by-room lighting guide whenever you decide to upgrade your lighting or style a new home.

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Sandy City Mourns Unexpected Death Of Police Chief Bill O’Neal