UPD Sheriff Winder says recent police deaths are natural

Posted at 9:22 PM, Feb 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-13 23:38:36-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- UPD Sheriff Winder discussed three recent police officer deaths at a press conference Monday.

Winder said there have been five deaths in 18 days, three police officers and two in connection with corrections.

The deaths are a great loss, Winder said, but in such a huge organization with around 1,900 people employed, it's natural to suffer losses.

"Unfortunately, fatalities will occur. However, because of the prominence of the three UPD officers, there has been some seeming speculation in our community about the cause and effect of their deaths," Winder said. "We have seen, for instance, in social media references from time-to-time speculating on the manner and the cause or the circumstance suggesting there was some kind of connection between these particular deaths."

According to Winder, the deaths were normal.

Brooks Green, UPD officer, passed away suddenly and naturally at home, said Winder.

"It is being investigated by the Sandy City Police Department," Winder said. "But let's not mistake the term "investigation" that there is an unnatural or suspicious cause of death."

The investigation has to take place, Winder said, because of the suddenness of his death.

A few days later, Winder said, UPD's Brian Holdaway also died suddenly at his place of work.

"That, too, requires an outside agency investigation and that is being conducted by South Salt Lake," Winder said.  "Similarly, and even more tragic, the death of another one of my dear friends and colleagues, [detective] Jon Richey," Winder said. "Jon passed away at his residence and we discovered the situation Saturday morning. Ironically and tragically, it was the same time that many of our members were attending the funeral of Brian Holdaway."

Richey, according to Winder, is being investigated by Salt Lake City's Police Department because of the location of his death.

Richey's death was being investigated, Winder said, the same reason both Green and Holdaway were under investigation.

"There is no indication that any of these deaths are other than natural," Winder said.