HOLLADAY, Utah – The community of Holladay where Officer Doug Barney spent most of his time turned out to pay their final respects.
Hundreds of students from Olympus High and Crestview Elementary Schools lined the procession route along 4000 South and 2300 East. They wanted to perform one final act for the man who served and protected their neighborhoods for years.
High school students were excused from school at 1 p.m. so they could stand with faculty and parents along the route lined with American flags and blue ribbons.
The crowd waved American flags and held banners with heartfelt messages to the Barney family and the men and women who protect their community.
As the dozens of law enforcement from all over the state rolled past the crowd in their vehicles, people couldn’t help but get caught up in a wave of emotion.
“It was amazing to the kids, they needed this closure. This is something that happened in their neighborhoods they've all been a part of it. It was very important that we brought them up here to see this today,” said Teri Cooper, Principal of Crestview Elementary.
Billy and Sandra Beatty live in Holladay. They never met Barney, but wanted to honor his sacrifice.
“I have two brothers who are also in the police force back home in Hawaii and when things like this happen you reflect on family and the situation they're in,” Billy Beatty said.
“When I saw the bikes actually, it brought sadness to my heart and as they went by it brought joy,” Sandra Beatty said.
It was an emotional scene to see law enforcement driving past the crowd of students waving and wiping away tears.
School administrators hope students will always remember this day. While it may be hard for the younger students to understand right now, perhaps down the road they’ll look back on this service rendered and appreciate the significance.
Several people were also gathered at Holladay City Hall to pay respects to Barney.
“We don’t know them, but we love them,” said bystander Jana Pilkington, of the Barney family. “We want them to know that we are here to support them.”
She and dozens of others lined the street with flags, waving to the law enforcement vehicles that passed by.
Patrol cars from several states joined the procession, as officers from all over paid tribute to Barney.
Several people teared up as they watched.
“He is a hero. My kids have kept him in their prayers, and his family in our prayers every night,” said Dena Harper, who got choked up as she spoke.
One-by-one, police and fire vehicles made their way past the crowd. It took more than an hour for the procession to pass through Holladay.
Harper said she brought her children to watch, in hopes they would see what Barney’s service meant to the community, and so they could send the first responders a message.
“How much we love our officers, and what they go through,” Harper said, tears welling up in her eyes. “And that [my children] may just understand that this man put his life on the line to protect them.”
As waves were exchanged, another message emerged: Thank you.
Thank you for your service, for protecting the community and for giving your life to keep people safe.