Volunteers set up 3,000 flags in northern Utah ahead of funeral services for fallen officer

Posted at 7:12 PM, Jan 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-25 00:02:51-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- As family, friends, law enforcement and the community prepare to remember the life of Officer Doug Barney Monday, volunteers stepped forward to pay tribute in their own way the day before the service.

Around 50 volunteers, some from law enforcement groups, hammered stakes into the ground and unraveled thousands of donated flags Sunday morning.

Many of the flags surrounded the Maverik Center, where people from the community, across the nation and other countries will come together to remember Officer Barney.

“These are people who've recognized the sacrifice made by Officer Barney, and are thanking him in the way that they can,” said Unified Police Lieutenant Lex Bell, who was friends with Barney for more than 15 years.

He said many have jumped into help over the past week—from donations to the family, to giving UPD a hand, to contributing to the funeral service.

“Doug deserves it, and the family deserves it,” he said.

For the group who arrived bright and early Sunday morning at the Maverik Center, help and contribution came in the form of raising 3,000 flags in Officer Barney’s honor.

They also erected flags in front of the UPD headquarters and Holladay substation, an LDS Stake Center in West Valley City and Officer Barney’s final resting place in Orem.

The volunteers worked anonymously, saying their only hope was for the focus to stay on Officer Barney and his family.

It’s that mindset that Lt. Bell said helped get everyone through such a difficult week.

“We've tried to make it about them, and that's what's made it tolerable and kind of more bearable,” he said. “We know we're doing it for Doug, and Doug would appreciate what we're doing.”

As the flags wave in the wind, the message resonates loud and clear: love, respect, support and solidarity.

Services for Officer Doug Barney begin at 11 a.m. Monday morning at the Maverik Center, 3200 Decker Lake Drive in West Valley City. All are invited to attend.