Utah County police agencies help fill the shifts of Santaquin Police Department after officer death

May 6, 2024, 7:01 PM | Updated: 7:05 pm

SANTAQUIN In the wake of the death of Sgt. Bill Hooser on Sunday, several Utah County police agencies are working to fill the shifts of the Santaquin Police Department and staff.   

The Utah County Sheriff’s Office says it created a google document, so other agencies can sign in and fill any shifts needed so the Santaquin officers can get some much-needed time off. 

Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith told KSL TV he believes they have most of the shifts covered for the entire department through Wednesday. Santaquin has 15 full-time officers and two civilian staff members. 

“It’s hit us hard,” Smith said of Hooser’s death. 

Several members of law enforcement said it’s just one way this Utah County law enforcement community works together. 

“In Utah County, it’s one big jurisdiction. That’s how we look at it,” said Lone Peak Police Chief Brian Gwilliam. “It’s a big family, we’re all brothers and sisters.” 

Smith said the teamwork isn’t just “lip service,” but rather an example of how the agencies collaborate daily. 

“On a daily basis, we work as a team,” Smith said. “We stress that. We meet the chiefs and myself we meet once a month in person and there’s a weekly meeting.” 

Working together can save lives

The collaboration, he says, can save lives. 

“Criminals – they don’t care what city line they cross. They, you know, they go from city to city. And so we need to be working together to make sure that we’re providing the right service,” Smith said. 

Officers from Lone Peak, Spanish Fork, Payson, Provo, The Sheriff’s Office, and even Utah Valley University and Brigham Young University came out to support Hooser and his family Monday. The comrade on display as a processional brought Hooser’s casket from Taylorsville back to Santaquin.  

“(Sunday) was an incredibly chaotic day, a lot of things happen really quickly, a lot of information needed to be gathered and a lot of information needed to be put out. A lot of resources need to be collaborated to be able to identify this dangerous individual that had done something really, really horrible and making sure he didn’t get the opportunity to do that again,” said Utah Highway Patrol Col. Michael Rapich.  

That law enforcement family, and those relationships not only stopped a suspect from hurting more people, they will also now help to buoy up a devastated family. 

“(We’ll work to) just feel their pain and just kind of put our arms around them as one collective community and to show how much we love them,” Gwilliam said.  

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Utah County police agencies help fill the shifts of Santaquin Police Department after officer death