LOCAL NEWS

Large crowd gathers in Santaquin for vigil honoring Sgt. Bill Hooser

May 9, 2024, 10:15 AM | Updated: 10:15 am

SANTAQUIN — A large but somber crowd gathered at Centennial Park Wednesday for a vigil honoring Sgt. Bill Hooser, who was killed in the line of duty.

Hooser died Sunday in a series of crimes spanning Utah, Juab, Sanpete and Uintah counties.

“Bill was taken from us by a senseless and selfish act,” Santaquin Police Lt. Mike Wall said to the crowd of a few hundred attendees. “A father, a husband, an uncle, a friend, a grandpa and a coworker and a community leader was taken from us. However, I can promise you that he has taught all of us back here and all of the community to continue to stand stronger, love more and I can assure you we will stand up as one and we will continue to do good and continue to be better because of what we’ve learned from him.”

Ashley Dowd offered remarks from Hooser’s family and expressed appreciation for the support the community has shown, calling it “awe-inspiring.”

“You never really understand the importance of a year, a memory or a photo until that is all you have left of someone you love,” she said tearfully.

Dowd said Hooser was a hero to his family.

“I will remember when he would display his best and alarmingly high female vocals—anything to make his girls shake their heads and laugh,” Dowd reflected. “We hope you fly high, Bill. You are an incredible example of kindness and dignity, courage, nobility and love.”

Officers who worked with Hooser also reflected on his life after the vigil, telling reporters he was well respected within the department, even though he was capable of showing tough love from time to time.

“At the time you think he’s just being hard on you, kind of being a jerk but then when you look back Bill was always looking out for everybody else and trying to get us to strive to do the best thing and excel at everything we were doing,” said officer Kayson Shepherd.

Officer Tyler Moos said there had been a lot of sadness in the department since Hooser’s passing.

“It’s been nice to see all of us come together at the drop of a hat — if one officer needs something another is there within five minutes to help him out,” he said.

Officer Hayden Hansen called Hooser a “super black and white officer.”

Police wives make ribbons as symbol of support for Sgt. Bill Hooser’s funeral

“He always had the right answer whenever you had a question and he was there to tell you exactly what you needed to do and help anyone that needed it,” he said.

The event brought people from around the county.

Sisters Amy and Jennifer Larsen, of Provo, came from a law enforcement background with a father who was an officer for over 20 years and said Hooser’s story resonated.

“It hits really close to home when something like this happens,” Amy Larsen said. “We really wanted to be here just to support the community and the family because it really is just one big family when it comes to law enforcement.”

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Large crowd gathers in Santaquin for vigil honoring Sgt. Bill Hooser