Fraternal Order of Police statement

Posted at 10:27 PM, Mar 20, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-21 00:27:38-04

“With respect to the November 2nd critical incident involving Danielle Willard, we are confident that these officers acted appropriately to defend themselves. The investigation is ongoing, and we expect all facts will be made public. These types of incidents require officers to make split-second decisions to defend themselves and the public at large. This incident was no different. In response to actions by the decedent, these officers feared for their lives and the safety of others. Though we are confident in the decisions and actions of the officers, obviously our hearts go out to the family of Ms. Willard. Our clients share that sentiment. We expect a full and complete exoneration for these officers once the District Attorney is able to review and assess the facts in this tragic matter.”

“In response to reports in the media regarding the involvement of Officer Shawn Cowley in circumstances giving rise to the dismissal of criminal matters by the Salt Lake County District Attorney – we find it unfortunate that the officer was named and the cases were dismissed before the investigation was completed. Salt Lake County DA Sim Gill was quick to point out that Salt Lake City PD was asked to undertake the investigation to avoid a conflict with West Valley City PD, and to date, there is no indication that they have completed the investigation. A more proper course is to await a full and final presentation of the facts and to reserve judgment about this officer until then. To be sure, we are aware of the facts of the case as it applies to Officer Cowley and we are confident that he will be exonerated.”

Bret Rawson, General Counsel, Utah Fraternal Order of Police