Officers cope with loss of UPD Officer Doug Barney

Posted at 10:20 PM, Jan 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-20 00:20:53-05

HOLLADAY, Utah -- Officers are coping with the tragic loss of a comrade and brother. While law enforcement officers are the first to respond to a scene, sometimes they're the last to seek help.

“It's terrible to be honest with you, it's just terrible,” Said Lt. John Barker with Unified Police Department.

Unified Police Officer Doug Barney was shot in the line of duty when he responded to a traffic accident in Holladay. Officials say he was shot by Cory Lee Henderson, who was later killed in an exchange of gunfire with officers.

Officer Jon Richey was injured during the shooting with Henderson.

“When you lose a fellow officer it hits home and it affects the agency he works for but all law enforcement,” Barker said.

Days after the initial shock and disbelief, officers know they have a long road of healing ahead as they struggle with the loss of one of their own.

“You don't want to keep it bottled up. If you keep that bottled up it will haunt you,” Barker said.

In his 44 years of service this marks Barker’s second time to deal with fellow officer killed in the line of duty.

In 1994 Deputy Michael Scott Welker died in Barker's arms.

Now, Barker is helping his co-workers through the struggle of never again seeing Barney at his desk or in his patrol car.

“I think it's healthy to talk to each other about it and lean on each other’s shoulder to get through it,” Barker said.

Barker, known by most as "pa" heads UPD's peer support team.

“We just want to make sure they get through this crisis,” Barker said.

He helps others cope with Barney's ultimate sacrifice.

“Some of them can grieve openly others have a hard shell,” Barker said.

Barker said some officers suffer with survivor guilt. Thinking somehow they contributed to his death or could have prevented it.

“We can't change it, we can't go back, so we just have to move forward and lean on each other for comfort,” Barker said.

To help ease the pain, Barker said, they share good memories of Barney. But Barker knows the pain of losing their friend and hero won't go away.

“There’s a hole in your chest there's a part of you missing,” he said.