Owens leads legislation to rename Santaquin post office in honor of fallen officer

Jun 13, 2024, 9:03 PM

WASHINGTON — Utah Rep. Burgess Owens introduced legislation Wednesday to rename the Santaquin post office at 20 W. Main in honor of Santaquin Police Sgt. Bill Dean Hooser, who was killed on May 5.

“Sgt. Bill Hooser served Utah with courage and dedication, making the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty,” said Owens, who represents Utah’s 4th District.

“Renaming the Santaquin post office in his honor is a fitting tribute to Sgt. Hooser’s legacy — one that truly embodied our state’s spirit of service and will ensure his contributions to our community become an indelible part of Utah’s story. May God continue to comfort the Hooser family in their time of grief and watch over all who answer the call to serve,” Owens said in a statement.

He told the Deseret News Wednesday he hopes to get this bill across the finish line this year.

Hooser’s career in law enforcement began at the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office in New Mexico eight years ago. He came back to Utah in 2017 and joined the Santaquin Police Department. Earlier in February, Hooser was promoted to the rank of sergeant, according to KSL.com.

He died on May 5 while assisting a Utah Highway Patrol trooper with a traffic stop involving a semi truck and 53-foot trailer. The semi truck driver crashed into the police car. Hooser is survived by his spouse of 29 years, two daughters, and one granddaughter.

Owens attributed Utah’s success to its frontline workers, like the fallen officer, who keep the community safe.

The entire four-person congressional delegation attended Hooser’s funeral service at Utah Valley University in Orem. Owens worked with Reps. Blake Moore, John Curtis, and Celeste Maloy to find the “perfect way” to honor Hooser.

To change the name of a post office building, the rules require the consensus of the entire state’s congressional delegation, which can be tough in some instances, said Owens. But he and the other three understand what Hooser’s loss means and agree it needs to be done.

The three other Utah representatives are co-sponsors of this bill. “I am deeply honored to commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of Sgt. Hooser by renaming this post office in his memory,” said Rep. John Curtis, who represents Utah’s 3rd District, in a statement.

“This act serves as a lasting tribute to his dedication to the Santaquin community and to all of Utah’s law enforcement officers who risk their lives daily to protect our communities. May this serve as a constant reminder of his service and sacrifice.”

Rep. Blake Moore, who represents the 1st District, said in a statement, “This bill will provide a way for Utahns in Santaquin to remember Sgt. Hooser and his family, along with law enforcement families across the nation who are forever changed by senseless tragedies like this.”

Rep. Celeste Maloy, who represents the 2nd District, also said she is honored to be a part of this legislation to rename the Santaquin building. She said she hopes it serves as “a symbol of our support for law enforcement.”

Santaquin Mayor Daniel Olson said he saw Hooser as a friend after years of knowing him.

“He faithfully served the city, the citizens of Santaquin and neighboring communities and has always been a model of faithfully executing the duties of his office,” said Olson. “He was a friend to all and a mentor to those who served alongside him. His ability to reach out and teach was a gift we will always remember.”

Owens said he is grateful to Hooser’s family for allowing him to honor the late officer, and other members of law enforcement.

“When I was growing up, we had some respect for that. All the kids wanted to be one day was a policeman,” he said, adding, “We need to get back to having that same kind of respect again.”

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Owens leads legislation to rename Santaquin post office in honor of fallen officer