SALT LAKE CITY -- The Unified Police Department was left grieving Sunday for long-time Officer Doug Barney, after a man reportedly fleeing a car accident, shot and killed him.
Lt. Lex Bell with UPD was one of Barney’s close friends.
The day Bell began his job as a police officer 16 years ago, Barney stood by his side. Barney had just come from working at the jail for two years before switching to patrol.
Bell said they were hired the same day, and went through the police academy together.
“We just meshed,” he said.
The two worked closely with each other for years when assigned to the same precinct.
“There was only a couple of us that worked in Magna,” he explained. “So everybody that worked out there became really, really good friends because we relied on each other for everything. We were our only backup.”
He said their friendship at work quickly turned to spending time together when not patrolling the streets.
Their families hung out a lot, Bell said, from play dates with the kids to dinners at each other’s houses.
The two friends worked on cars, went hunting and shooting, and even worked a part time job together outside the police force.
Barney, Bell said, was always positive and could turn any bad situation around.
Even during the 12 years spent fighting cancer, Barney kept his spirits up.
“He’s such a goofy fun guy that just always makes everybody laugh and cheers up a room,” Bell said.
It’s that attitude and Barney’s welcoming demeanor he’ll miss most.
“He just walked up and, big old bear hug and slapped you on the back, and wanted to know how you are,” he said.
That’s what happened when Bell saw Barney last. A moment he’ll now cherish as he grieves the loss of a co-worker, and friend.
The community is also showing their support for the Barney family.
Monday night, outside many of the houses in West Valley City, blue light bulbs shine to honor Barney. A neighbor told FOX 13 News she got the idea from a friend and started passing out the light bulbs Monday afternoon so the Barney family knew their community stands behind them.
“He has such a strong wife and a strong family. I just left their house and I can’t believe how well they’re doing,” Bell said.
Many of his neighbors say they’re waiting for the right words, but walking through his West Valley City community, the displays of support are speaking volumes.
Bell said they are still working on funeral arrangements. He added the Barney family is holding up well for now, and has a lot of support from family and police departments around the country.